“Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”
– H.L. Mencken
Recently, for reasons far too ridiculous and complicated to explain, Scarlett and I have a bit of an inside joke ending emails and phone calls with some sort of admonition followed by, “or God will smite thee.” Have a good day, or God will smite thee, etc. It’s silly and stems from a midnight conversation when her flatmates were getting drunk and crowding up her New York flat so she hung out in the hallway and called me up to chat until they descended on Greenwich Village. Many an inside joke has found it’s birth in such events.
Anyway, it put me in a sacrilegious frame of mind, so these Puritan baby names made for a good Friday afternoon read. Let’s have a look at some of these poor parenting choices and make a few guesses on how the Early Modern era panned out for them, based on their unfortunate epithets:
Wrestling Brewster, I can only surmise, turned out to be the dame school class bully.
Kill-sin Pimple, to no one’s surprise, ran off to live in the woods and found happiness among the Iroquois.
Continent Walker, a great colonial explorer. Annoyed his relatives by insisting on dressing “in the manner of the heathens” in the privacy of his own home.
Preserved Fish refused all pickled food for the entirety of her life.
Anger Bull was unfortunately prone to fits of rage at the sight of red flags. Laudanum helped.
Magnyfye Beard was appropriately enough, one of history’s earliest hipsters. His whiskers were the pride of the early cavaliers.
Hope-still Peedle. Pessimist.
Weakly Ekins: picked on in school. Probably by Wrestling Brewster.
If-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned (known familiarly as “Dr. Damned”) Barebone, never really understood why his medical practice never did very well. Scraped by as a body snatcher for the burgeoning field of anatomy and made many, sadly unrecognized, contributions to science.
Let’s play a game: pick a name, submit their life story in three sentences or less. Winner get applause and acclaim from the minion coterie. Off you go. (Or God will smite thee!)