Baby Names

A chalkboard with the names of boys and girls.

âš½  I read recently that the top newborn baby names from 2010 to 2018 were Noah and Emma and in general children are more likely to be given fewer common names today than in the past. The top names came from a total of 18 million male births and 17 million female births. That surprised me because we have been told for years that more females were born each year than males. As a matter of fact, in 2017 there were 166 million women in the United States compared to 159 million men, and the projection is that it will continue to widen.  That reminds me of a cruise my wife and I were on several years ago. We had disembarked on one of the islands in the Caribbean and were on a tour bus.  The lady from that island was giving the tour and informed us that she had two young boys and that on that island there were 13 females for every male.  I remember thinking that was a young man’s paradise, how nice it must be to be the only game in town.  Of course, for the female population, the choice of a mate becomes extremely difficult because he doesn’t have to earn her love and respect.  We know from experience, when men are left to their own devices, they are not prone to the best of conduct.  I suspect there is just too much testosterone flowing thru our body.  An area that suffers for us men is our social skills.  We tend to be loud and boisterous with a tendency to brag about our accomplishments.  Mingle in a few women and we become more civilized.  Thomas K. (“Stonewallâ€) Jackson, the famous Confederate Civil General, had these rules for conversation:  Be at peace in your speech, speak respectfully of others, try to be no more wise than the people you are speaking to, never be hurtful, nor deceitful, avoid bragging by saying as little about yourself as possible, and always speak late (refrain from dominating the conversation).  Now, that’s seven simple rules of conversation that make a lot of sense and would, perhaps, make us a little humbler. For anyone interested in the Civil War, I just finished “Rebel Yell†by S. C. Gwynne, about Stonewall Jackson during that great struggle.  I gave it 5 stars. I use that high rating sparingly.    

âš½  I have three granddaughters, all living far away, and I don’t get to see them very often.  So, in April 2019, I started sending them a text on Sunday mornings asking them to,†Tell me something I don’t know (TMSIDK)†about themselves.  Within that message to them, I tell them something about myself they don’t know.  All three eagerly accepted my challenge, and each week when they respond, I copy their answers and put it in my journal under their names.  Two of my granddaughters are in their mid-thirties and the other one is in her mid-twenties.  I have been pleasantly surprised at some of their answers, and I’m sure they were surprised at some of mine.  Last week in my TMSIDK (tell me something I don’t know) to them, I said I was 19 years old when their dad was born.  One of them replied, “Goodness, that was young!†Playfully, I wrote her back, “Too young, but not uncommon in the mountains of Virginia.  Of course, without that happening, I know of three wonderful girls that wouldn’t be roaming this wonderful planet†(she and her two sisters).  I’m confident that brought a smile to her face.

This simple little act each Sunday morning allows me to maintain contact with three of the most important people in my life, even though distance limits our physical presence.  I know these three girls love me unconditionally, just as I love them in the same way.  This also allows them to know a little more about their grandfather.  My grandparents never kept in touch after I left home in 1959, but I wish they had.  I always visited them when I went home each year, but they never initiated contact.  If I could roll that ball back up the lane, I would make sure that changed.   Rosa Parks said, “Memories of our lives, of our works and deeds will continue in others.† I believe this is true.

âš½ There are 7 people on my cellphone plan with Verizon, and recently I noticed a $5 monthly charge on two of those phones that I had not seen before.  So, I signed onto their website and clicked on “Chat†and a lady came on and I explained the problem.  Twenty minutes later, thru some other adjustment, I knocked $54 off my monthly bill.  That made me a happy camper!  She then informed me that they have a new router that will increase my internet speed by 65% and my Wifi by 63%.  Nothing left to do but order that jewel!  Within 2 days, it was sitting on my porch ($318) begging for installation.  I chose to buy it verses rent at $20/month for the rest of my life.  Anyway, I got it installed and checked my internet speed and was very surprised.  The average internet speed in the USA is 25 mbps (megabits per second) and mine was 928.  I was getting very close to jumping out of my chair and dancing a little jig, but there was a disappointing downside to my cheerfulness.  A lot of my Wifi gadgets needed the slower speed (2.4 GHz) to connect to the internet, meaning my security cameras wouldn’t work, neither would the smart plugs I used to control lights within our home.  When I walk into my computer room and tell Amazon’s Alexa to “Turn on Tommy’s lampsâ€, all my lights come on and the radio starts playing my favorite station on XMRadio.  Now that doesn’t happen because my router is too fast.  You would’ve thought my best friend died.  I was saddened when I realized I would have to turn those things on manually.  I guess it’s sorta like getting in your car and having to manually crank your windows up and down.  I was completely unaware that my life had become so easy and me so spoiled. 

Anyway, I got back on the phone with Verizon to try to solve my problem and, as it turns out, they can help me fix it.  I’m waiting on a new router as I write this missive that should get me back to my old spoiled self and allow me to also keep my Richard Petty internet speed.

Update:  I received my new router and installed it as directed, but the same problems persisted.  I eventually resolved the problem myself, and now everything works as intended.  I felt awesome because three of their “experts†were unable to resolve the problem and the “Old Guy†did.  Life still gives me pleasures!

An old Proverb says, “Everyone is wise until he speaksâ€.  Regrettably, that applies to me.

Wherever you are in this world, I hope your family loves you as much as mine loves me.  I know you will return their love abundantly.  That is my intent as well.  I am always grateful that you take the time to read my missives.  Until next time, be well…. Tommy.