WFME’s You Decide: Jon or John

I’m not a big fan of the name Jon.

Mind you, it has nothing to do with my recent run-ins with Jon Cryer nor does it have anything to do with the fact that when I was a child my grandfather once told me that “people with three letters for a first name, where the first and last letters are consonants and the middle letter is the vowel “o” and the first consonant has the same sound as the letters “ch” or “sh” — they’re criminals or malcontents.”

My grandfather heard voices, too, but who am I to criticize. I mean, the guy was in WW II and spent hours in planes going on missions while shrapnel flew all around him. If he wanted to hate certain three-letter names, that was OK by me.

The name John has got to be the most normal, American, typical name on the face of the Earth but that’s not the reason for my total support of the name and my total disdain for the name Jon. I think when it really comes down to it, I find that the name Jon represents more than just the missing “h” — but represents society’s desire for shortcuts.

Having a kid and want to use the name John but feeling like it’s too typical or takes too long to write? Want to name your kid Jonathan but again, it’s just starting to become a hassle? Well why not go ahead and just drop a letter and make it Jon.

I want to know the mentality behind such a short-cut.

If I was standing in the middle of a desert and I was desperate for water and I was going to die in the very near future and a spirit or God came down from the Heavens and said to me a big ‘ol booming voice, “You must change your name to Jon and then you will be saved!” I would probably first ask what they meant by “saved” — cause if saved means they’re going to magically beam me to my house where my fridge is filled with good deli stuff from Whole Foods, sure. But if saved means they’re just going to send down a few bottles of Fiji water and then I still have to walk all the way home, I have to really think about the decision. But yeah, if the Whole Foods thing was going to happen, I may possibly change my name to Jon. But probably not.

Because, I don’t know — there’s something off with the name.

So, too is the case with the following names, where parents have simply seen fit to remove ONE LETTER in order to truncate a typical name and create something far more frightening: Margret, Pal, Jeny, Frak, Heny, Briget, Lia, Suzi, Hether, Shanon, Fredd, Paty, Rebeca, Genifer, Am…

So in trying to decide between Jon and John — there’s an inherent problem. Do you go for the more obscure, fewer letter name or do you go with the more-mainstream, more traditional spelling of the name? Do you go with pickled eggs or pickles? Do you go with Chinese Chicken Salad or Chinese Food? Do you go with a hand missing a finger or a hand that has all its digits? Do you go with Ghost in the Machine or Ghost?

It’s a tough decision.

It really is.

In other news, tomorrow brings another exciting, ground-breakingly stunning edition of “Words For Your Enjoyment” — where you supply the idea, we steal it, and you gain so much notoriety from the entire process that it makes you a huge big star and you turn into a total a-hole and never talk to any of your friends ever again, and then one day you’re out riding your bicycle on a mountain road and you ride into a tunnel and don’t see a huge truck coming and it hits you and you die and go up to Heaven where you’re given a chance to go back to Earth but only in the body of a rich a-hole-ish billionaire but you figure, hey why not, if Warren Beatty could do it and Chris Rock could do it — then so can I.

37 comments on “WFME’s You Decide: Jon or John

  1. Neil - August 25, 2005 at 9:13 am -

    To get a really new and hip name, I suggest dropping the vowels completely, so you are left with Jhn.

  2. Keith - August 25, 2005 at 9:15 am -

    Will someone explain to me how we got “Jack” from “Jonathan”? I don’t think my life can proceed until I get an answer.

  3. Daniel - August 25, 2005 at 9:20 am -

    I totally agree with you Pl.

  4. Amber - August 25, 2005 at 9:29 am -

    I would also like to criticize parents who think changing a letter in a name is going to make it more unique. Like my cousin named his kid “Gavyn.” Oh yeah — now the kid will be totally unique. If by totally unique you mean getting his ass kicked on the playground daily for the pansy spelling of his name.

    I have a lot of other name issues, but I think today, I’ll limit it to just the one.

  5. purpletwinkie - August 25, 2005 at 9:50 am -

    The other day, I was talking to my friends Mikel and Dona and asked them what they were planning to name their unborn baby. We like the name ‘Gregry’ or ‘Lizbeth”. hmpff.

  6. D Alexander Carlin - August 25, 2005 at 10:02 am -

    You may be interested to know that, while John is a complete first name, Jon is simply a shortened version of Jonathan.

    Several Jonathans I know take offense when their shortened name is written as John. Because, as you will notice, the h in Jonathan is not quite between the o and the n. In fact, it is in a different syllable.

    This may help to explain why, exactly, the name Jon exists.

  7. monkeyinabox - August 25, 2005 at 10:04 am -

    I think this is an ego thing here. Mr Davidson, goes by Pauly instead of Paul sometimes. He’s adding a damn letter! I’m guessing Pauly isn’t a big fan of Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies either.

  8. Pauly D - August 25, 2005 at 10:06 am -

    The kind of logic that D. Alexander Carlin uses in the above comment actually kind of, sort of seems to make sense.

    I will fight against it with all my might.

  9. annabel lee - August 25, 2005 at 10:07 am -

    I’m not so sure that “Jon” is really “John” minus an “h.” I think it’s really “Joan” minus an “a.” So every guy named “Jon” was really a disappointment to his parents, who were hoping for a girl.

  10. kristine - August 25, 2005 at 10:25 am -

    i think the real story here is in the existance of the name BOB.

    that, or how we got DICK from RICHARD.

    or SETH. ha! especially as a middle name! hahahahaha!

    as for the unique spellings, my name is like one of the coolest on the planet because my mom came up with it. and it’s not abnormal. people with CHRIST in their name are. but whatever. i’m not like defensive or anything.

  11. Glen C. - August 25, 2005 at 10:40 am -

    Do you have something against my name? Dropping the second “N?” Because my parents wanted to make sure I was a “Narrow, hidden value,” not a stupid double “n” touting know-it-all.

  12. Meg - August 25, 2005 at 10:51 am -

    Wha-? What is this WFYE notoriety I’m hearing about? Is there some sort of money-back guarantee with that if it doesn’t happen?

    I could be a huge big star and a total a-hole if given the chance, I know it! I’m already brushing up on my, “Excuse me, do I know you?”s.

  13. nicholina - August 25, 2005 at 10:54 am -

    Death to the people with three-letter names!

  14. meme - August 25, 2005 at 11:06 am -

    who got dick from richard?

  15. Daniel Nicolas - August 25, 2005 at 11:13 am -

    What about people who are from other countries or decend from other countries where Jon is very common (ie. Europe)?

    =) but your words do make sense for the Untied States

  16. nic - August 25, 2005 at 11:17 am -

    I got Jack from Paul

  17. Amy - August 25, 2005 at 11:29 am -

    My husband’s name is John. My son’s name is Jack. And my name is Amy. I just can’t win at all with this blog today.

    Death, not to people with three-lettered names, but to people who post bogus hyperlinks.

  18. kristine - August 25, 2005 at 11:47 am -

    ohhhh, SLAM!! did you hear that NIC!!??

  19. Idil - August 25, 2005 at 11:50 am -

    Ive also always wondered how you get Dick out of Richard.

  20. Pauly D - August 25, 2005 at 11:55 am -

    Fight! Fight!

  21. suze - August 25, 2005 at 12:04 pm -

    i like jon just fine…stupid three-letter-name prejudice. why can’t we all get along? why?!

  22. jenny - August 25, 2005 at 12:14 pm -

    my grandpa’s birth name is John but everyone calls him Jack. I agree, Keith, how did that happen?

    I often suffer because people call me Jennifer, when my birth name is Jenny. My parents didn’t want me to have the most common name of the era, because they said it was so “unoriginal” but then it’s almost worse to have to justify why it’s not my name.

    i vote for Jon, just to keep ’em guessing.

  23. ms. sizzle - August 25, 2005 at 12:50 pm -

    i actually prefer jack to any jon, john or jonathan any day. and how DID they get dick from richard? i am befuddled.

    i personally think parents are trying too damn hard to make their kids unique through bizarre names. i, for one, would never name my kid after a fruit, but that’s just me.

  24. greenhemic - August 25, 2005 at 1:43 pm -

    I think parents who name their child April, May, or June (or any of the rest of the months, Feb? Oct?) are really…uh..weird.

    Why do they do it? Because they’re weird.

    Thank you.

    Oh, I prefer John to Jon, coz I know a Jon who is an a-hole to the nth degree (but whose real name is Jonathan) but all Johns (so far) I know are sweet, smart and are perfect gentlemen.

    Bias? Hell yes. 🙂

  25. C Ro - August 25, 2005 at 1:49 pm -

    I think greenhemic is onto something.

    I personally find the no “h” Christine derivatives annoying, but that’s just because I have a former friend named Cristine. One bad apple and all that…

  26. danielle - August 25, 2005 at 2:16 pm -

    It’s not tough…

    Pickles. Chinese Food. Ghost.

  27. kingbenny - August 25, 2005 at 2:19 pm -

    Totally true story here, in the homedown of my youth, there was a man named Richard Dick. In an unrelated story, my sister once dated a guy named Harry (maybe it was Harold) Wood.

  28. nic - August 25, 2005 at 2:22 pm -

    I knew a Teddy Baer and a Hi Marks.

  29. Will - August 25, 2005 at 4:00 pm -

    On a somewhat related note, Wil Wheaton is a pretty cool guy, but I wish his name was different, because sometimes (being that I am a blogger named “Will”) people in the world of blogging spell MY name “Wil” just as Wil Wheaton does, and that’s really not fair, because “Wil Wheaton” is really just a stage name of sorts. His real name (according to IMDb) is Richard William Wheaton III. My FIRST name really is William. I think the confusion is unwarranted.

  30. Darrel - August 25, 2005 at 4:03 pm -

    My name is continually misspelt thanks to a certain Barret Oliver movie. I’m all for spelling reform and getting rid of useless silent letters in monosyllabic words. And my nickname is Duckie and I don’t have an iPod either.

    In order to get Dick from Richard, you might consider buying him dinner first.

  31. Linda - August 25, 2005 at 4:13 pm -

    Annabel’s comment cracked me up…and please, people, for the sake of all teachers out there who have to struggle every year with a new group of oddly named children – have pity! My name’s gone out of style, but at least I can imagine someone named Linda at 87 years old, but I cannot imagine a 87-year-old Tiffany. Or Tiffani. Or Tifani.

  32. Christa - August 25, 2005 at 6:35 pm -

    Hey Kristine-I resent your comment. My mom simply liked Christmas and chose my name because it reminded her of the holiday.

  33. Miss - August 26, 2005 at 12:00 am -

    I would like to know exactly how many ways can you Spell Melissa? Or Lindsay? What the heck with all the retro parents out there now a days who the hell cares……This is what happens when REALLY young people have kids……..


  34. nilblogette - August 26, 2005 at 10:55 am -

    I feel the same way about Jon as I do about Sean, which should be pronounced Sheen, as in Charlie, in my opinion. They are soap opera names. I prefer a good old fashioned, boring, father’s father’s father’s name like John or Shawn, with silent consonants.

  35. groovebunny - August 27, 2005 at 1:24 pm -

    At last! An explanation for my malcontent-ness! Score! Thanks Pauly. The first step is always understanding. I can now work on bettering myself from bening one with the ranks of the malcontent. lol

  36. […] Previously, WFME has asked you if you prefer Jon or John, affection or inflection, Pepto or Necco and “Bless You” or “Cough-it-easy”. In doing so, the WFME readers came together collectively to decide and came to a conclusion that both helped each person on an individual level and together as a group. […]

  37. […] That’s why WFME likes to periodically give you the choice of the decade, except that since I’ve given you this choice five other times before today over the course of two years means that WFME is technically giving you “five choices each decade” to make an important decision that will never affect your future yet prepare you for obscure events that may, potentially happen to you. Then again, since this is the sixth time, you’re gettin “six choices each decade” which is more choice then the government actually gives you over the course of four years. […]

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