MY lovely wife is 25 weeks preggers now and I have started to take things a bit more seriously. In fact, I am even reading a baby book at the moment thanks to my pal Jayney, who bought it for me for my 50th birthday. It is called The First Year and has plenty of handy tips for parenthood.
One of them has already benefited me immensely and it concerns baby names.
I have always fancied the moniker Jack for a boy. After all the two biggest heroes on TV at the moment are Jack Bauer (from 24) and Jack Sheppard (Lost). And Jack was right up there among the top names in the imaginery list that Mrs Rippers and I were putting together. It's a real cool name.
There is a chapter in my book on baby names. It says you have to be careful to avoid saddling the poor unborn child with an embarrassing nickname to last a lifetime.
I tried out Jack.
The initials are fine, JR, who, though a bit of a character in the Texas soap Dallas a while ago, has kind of slipped off the radar and become a folk hero. No problem then.
Jack Rippington. It has a nice flow to it, a short first name to go with a long last name... exactly the requirements pointed out in my baby bible.
Nicknames? Well what are they going to call him? Jumping Jack Flash? Not bad, unless he is a flasher. Jack-in-the-box? Sounds exactly the sort of striker we need at the Gas.
And then... it struck me. Like a bolt of lightning coming through the ceiling. The awful, painful truth.
What is my nickname? Rippers. What likely nickname would he have. Rippers.
Or maybe Jack Rippers. Or, oh my lord, Jack the Rippers.
A notorious serial killer... the most famous in Britain.
A slasher of monumental reputation.
Not sure if that is the role model I would wish my son to follow.
He won't be called Jack now... that's for sure.