What the %$#@ just happened?


So I’m upstairs with the wife and the sister-in-law, chatting. The TV’s on mute. And, suddenly, I see someone I know appear on the screen—Mitch Jacobs.

Mitch and I went to Mahopac High School together. Both graduated in 1990, both worked on the student newspaper, Chieftain. Mitch was a nice guy; extremely ambitious and motivated; the sort to join every club and hold student government positions. That’s not really an insult—I sorta did the same thing, though to a lesser degree (and I never won a student government position … despite five elections. Doh).

Anyhow, turns out Mitch and his wife Samantha were on a new show, Pregnant in Heels, that debuted on Bravo tonight. I don’t actually know the premise of the program—and, well, I don’t really care. All I know is that Mitch and Samantha hired a woman to help them pick a name for their third child. Read that again, please: They hired someone to pick a name for their third child.

This, from a child blog:

Take Mitch and Samantha, who are getting set to welcome their 3rd child. Now, we all know how tough it can be to pick the perfect baby name. But whereas you and I may have pored through a few books and web sites, Mitch and Samantha wanted “to go above and beyond the normal process,” so they had Rosie set up a focus group of pop culture experts and linguistics scholars. This “brain trust” then set about finding an ideal name (but not before hearing the ground rules from mom: “Easy to spell, but not too popular. No decorative names. We don’t want the first name having a J. We don’t want an E or an R. We don’t want the first name to end in an S because we feel like it sounds a little… strange.”).

Their goal, it seemed, was to pick a name that would help the kid get into an Ivy League school. Seriously.

I’ve got 0% beef with Mitch. Hell, I always liked Mitch. But since he chose to go on a TV show, I’ll choose to say this: Lame. Lame, lame, lame. You know why the wife and I picked “Casey” and “Emmett” for our children? Because we liked them. Period. End of story. And if my kids wind up going to Westchester Community College or Pace or … whatever—if they’re happy and whole, I’ll be happy and whole.


PS: The kid’s name is Bowen Asher Jacobs. Which is nice.

11 thoughts on “What the %$#@ just happened?”

  1. Hey, my dad got his accounting degree in the ’70s from Pace. He was especially proud/amused that his class ring bore the initials “PU.”

    And I’m proud he earned that degree in his spare time after working the midnight-8 shift as a transit cop in the NYC subway system, while supporting a wife and babies.

    The Hardy family rule of thumb is that the name sound decent in long, formal form and in nickname form. Hence, dad was Vincent/Vince, I’m Gregory/Greg, by boys are Daniel/Dan and Joseph/Joey-Joey-JuJuBee. … ok, one exception proves the rule … JoJo’s still only 5 …

  2. Crap like this only continues to air because people watch it. I don’t get the appeal, but my wife doesn’t understand me screaming at the TV for three hours when the Giants play on Sundays.

  3. Correlation does not imply causation. So in this case, even if a name is somehow correlated with going to an Ivy League school, it is not the cause of going to an Ivy League school. Thinking that a name alone affects such things is ludicrous.

    Take a look at the book Freakanomics for more on this subject.

  4. My two favorite weird Ivy-League-parent-obsession stories:

    — I’ve heard multiple accounts of my friends walking through Harvard Yard and having parents ask them to touch their babies for good luck.

    — When my mom’s friend heard that I’d gotten into Harvard, she asked my mom, “did he walk early?” She had a 1-year-old, and a joke among her circle of new moms was that if a kid didn’t walk by his first year he wasn’t getting into Harvard. My mom (truthfully) said, “you tell your friends it took 18 months.”

    Not that I’m not enjoying and taking advantage of my time here, but it just seems like the worst thing in the world for a parent to get worked up about.

  5. I am not an angry or violet person, but seeing the previews/commercials for that show made me want to punch a LOT of people.

  6. My brother and I each recently attended Ivy League schools. To this I credit my parents equal focus on insisting on hard work, inculcation of a love of knowledge and an emphasis on self-actualization. My brother and I did well, largely because we wanted to learn and discover new things for our own sake.

    Friends of mine who, at younger ages, exhibited similar aptitude but had parents who suffocated them and directed their every activity ended up burning out and not doing as well. Plus, they are absolutely incapable of carrying an adult conversation.

    So, parents, instill in your children a love of knowledge and self respect. The rest will figure itself out.

  7. Not to hijack the whole Ivy league debate, but I watched this episode last night (wife made me- honest). These two are attention whoring, elitist douchebags. They loved all the attention that was given to them by the panel, the focus group, and then all their friends. They loved that everyone was taking time out of their lives to focus on them. And you know what? Every single group HATED the name they wanted and went with. Every single group gave ‘Bowen’ low scores or just plain old hated it. And they still went with the name that everyone hated, even though they framed each group session as being that they really wanted these people’s input. They didn’t want the input- they wanted the attention.

    Jeff- I know you meet a lot of horrible people in lockerrooms across the country, but I honestly cannot see how these two are any different from your experiences with Rauch, Werth, Puhols, or any number of other untold stories you may have.

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