In Denmark, choosing both the first and last name for a child is serious business, requiring the approval of the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs and the Ministry of Family and Consumer Affairs. The Law on Personal Name is designed to protect the a child from a name that is embarrassing or could cause him or her to suffer ridicule or abuse.
Expectant parents can choose a pre-approved name from a government list of 7,000 mostly West European and English names. Those wishing to deviate from the list must seek permission.
About 1,100 new names are reviewed every year, and 15-20% are rejected, mostly for odd spelling.
While this law initially seemed heavy handed to me, my father’s name is Leslie Dicks, and he goes by Les Dicks. Also, I have a great uncle named Harry Dicks and an uncle named Harold Dicks who also goes by Harry Dicks.
I have to believe that these men would have been protected from the horrors of their names had the United States adopted legislation similar to Denmark .
In fact, our surname might have been eliminated long ago had the Denmark law been in place within the United States.
Then again, you would be hard pressed to find three tougher people on this planet than my father and my uncles.
As I have explained to my wife many times, as difficult as my last name was at times, it also taught me some important life lessons.
Like how sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.
Also, the most effective place to punch someone in the face if that becomes necessary.