Liam Farrell: In God's name, give the child a chance in life

Names can be tricky; Terry Pratchett described one set of devout but confused parents who got mixed up between the virtues and the seven deadly sins, all of which resulted in their children being called Faith, Hope, Charity and Bestiality.

And just to show how misleading a label can be, Bestiality Carter was actually very kind to animals.

'How old is baby?' I asked. I used the non-gender-specific noun because I didn't know whether it was a boy or girl, and family doctors are supposed to know this kind of stuff. Usually there are clues, boys in blue, girls in pink, but this baby was swaddled in neutral and uninformative butterfly yellow. But time reveals all, and the experienced GP is patient, yet always alert and watchful for even the most subtle intimation.

'She's two weeks today,' said mother proudly, solving the mystery.

'Isn't she a beautiful little girlie, what are you calling her,' I asked, just to show how much I care, and compensating for my previous obfuscation with a spatter of personal pronouns. 'Mary-Kate would be nice,' I said, 'after her granny on her father's side, the one who punched Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War.'

'No, that's much too old-fashioned, I wanted something new and different,' she said.

'Like Kylie or Britney,' I suggested (I am still pretty hip, you see, and right in touch with 'yoof' culture).

'No, far too common,' she said. 'I heard a lovely name recently, so we are going to call her - Cialis.'

There was a long silence, punctuated only by the clunky sound of my jaw hitting the floor. It was none of my business really, but sometimes a doctor's duties extend far beyond the narrow church of medicine, so I felt obliged to intervene.

'Ci-a-lis,' I said, pronouncing it extremely slowly, trying to give her a hint that there was major drawback here. 'Your husband's suggestion, I presume?'

'Yes,' she said happily. 'I think he got it from one of his friends. It sounds so graceful and feminine, doesn't it, like a swallow's flight, and there won't be any other girls with that name.'

'You can be sure about that,' I confirmed.

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