Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Name That Reading Assignment

I guess I may now have to read “Atlas Shrugged.”

“The Fountainhead” with its superhero Howard Roark has always been one of my favorite books, not that I was an unquestioning adherent to Ayn Rand’s form of individualism and capitalism-at-all-costs philosophy. Being a simple man, I just liked the story of overcoming insurmountable odds. I loved the opening line, “Howard Roark laughed.” 

Naturally, I thought I’d read Rand’s other classic, “Atlas Shrugged,” after I finished “The Fountainhead.” But I just couldn’t get into it. Now, however, I have reason to pick it up anew. You see, Allison and Dan made Gilda and me grandparents once more, a girl this time. They named her Dagny Eaton Forseter. Eaton is for one of Allison’s father’s family offshoots. Dagny, on the other hand, left me wondering where, oh where, did that come from? 

My friend Jim knew right away. As soon as he heard the name he said, “Dagny Taggart.” He knew Dagny was the name of the female protagonist of “Atlas Shrugged,” Rand’s 1957 opus that delineated her philosophy, objectivism. Jim also suggested that if Dan and Allison have another girl they could balance out the political winds by naming her Angela, after Angela Davis.

There’s no denying, Allison and Dan have been most creative in their choices of names for their offspring. Perhaps it’s a reaction to their frequently shared names. In Dan’s elementary school grade, there were four other Dan’s among the 20 boys. 

I thought Finley was rather unique when I first heard it, but it’s commonplace when compared to Dagny. Derived from Old Norse, Dagny means “new day.” According to Think Baby Names, among the 4,276 most popular names for women, Dagny ranks 4,252. It’s a safe bet there won’t be too many Dagnys in her classes, though Allison said she taught a Dagny a few years ago. 

Dagny is beginning to grow on me. Doesn’t hurt that she’s a real cutie, looking much like Finley did as a newborn.