Off To Never-Never Land: The Saga Of Baby Metallica (Episode I)

metallica01GateHouse  When it came time to come up with a name for my son, I did what I imagine most panicking, sweaty soon-to-be-fathers did. First, I pitched “Bruce Springsteen,” which didn’t work, so then I downgraded my goals to selecting something that one could reasonably expect to find on a souvenir miniature license plate, as well as not get my son made fun of on the playground. Frankly, I had it easy — Vrabel doesn’t really rhyme with any bodily functions that I’m aware of. So I was pretty safe, as long as I didn’t name my son “Mabel,” or “Abel,” or “Vladimir,” which is the name I suggested immediately after “Bruce Springsteen” and actually got a worse response, if you can believe it.

I bring this up because out there in Sweden, which is, you know, that way (points west), a couple is right now struggling to name their baby Metallica. They’re struggling with Swedish authorities, which are the HOTTEST AUTHORITIES EVER, but in spite of their breathtaking beauty are rejecting Michael and Karolina Tomaro’s application to name their 6-month-old daughter after the previously interesting rock band.

“It suits her,” Karolina Tomaro, 27, said Tuesday of the name, and her daughter. “She’s decisive and she knows what she wants.” Plus, Karolina added, once she gets old enough, she plans to send her daughter on a crazy-eyed anti-downloading rant and have her record a Bob Seger cover.

New or prospective fathers out there probably read that and thought the same thing I did, which is: This kid is 6 months old? How long does it take to name a child in Sweden? Because, I’ve never been there or anything — despite a long and abiding love of fjords — but it took us about two days to name Jake, and it’s something that we pretty much decided to have figured out, you know, before he was born. (Imagine how long it must have taken to come up with Ace of Base.) On the other hand, if my gorgeous country was teeming with voluptuous blondes I probably wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time in the tax agency office either.

It is important to note that Sweden, however, has a lot of people who do that. In Sweden, parents must have names approved by the tax authority, which is a governmental body responsible for tracking and approving the movements and personal decisions of its own innocent citizens — listen, does anybody not see where I’m going with this? OK, anyway, the government has to rubber-stamp your baby names, which would, of course, never fly here — we can’t even agree on a standard spelling of Caitlin. Also our citizens would never stand for such unchecked government intrusion, unless, of course, it was preceded by months of hysterical fear-mongering and a photo op on an aircraft carrier.

Anyway, the tax board, according to The Media, refused the name on two grounds: 1. That it was “associated” with the rock group, and 2. That it was associated with the word “metal.” So, essentially, the name “Metallica” has something to do with the band Metallica, and the word metal. Can’t pull anything over on the Swedish tax agency.

Tomaro also told the AP that the official handling the case called the name “ugly,” adding, “Not, you know, James Hetfield ugly, but ugly.” The official then suggested something prettier, like ABBA.

Metallica is not the first name to be rejected up there; in the past, the names Ikea and Veranda were both rejected, causing their almost certainly irritating parents to, I don’t know, throw pink Polo T-shirts at each other or something. Also, in 1996, and I’m not making this up because I have to cut and paste this name, authorities banned the name Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116, which was pronounced, of course, “Albin.” I’ve made a lot of fun here, but that one I can understand. I mean, come on. Really? Albin?


About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

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