Now, I knew from the first time I heard “Penny Lane” in high school I wanted to name my first daughter that. It’s a cool song, and how many of us are lucky enough to even be in a spot to name their child after an all-time great song? It wasn’t even a matter of fandom. It was the obligation of doing it because I could.
Once we knew another child was on the way, we decided to keep the theme going. Mommy and I listened to The Beatles more after Penny’s birth, becoming fans more so after the fact. So Rigby seemed to fit well (he probably would have been Lucy Diamond if he were a girl) and we went with it.
They knew their songs almost before they knew their own names. In fact, in the chorus, instead of Penny Lane, Penny would sing “mmmeeeeeee” any time we played it. And Rigby would ask for his song (”Eleanor Rigby,” in case you never figured it out) to be played on an endless loop. So their names took on a double-meaning of sorts, an association with music they’d otherwise be years from discovering (if kids in the 21st century even discover The Beatles — or any older music — anymore).
As such, while I ordinarily leave the kids free to like most anything that suits their tastes, I could not — NOT — let this slide quite so easily.
“Sweetie, this was the first song you knew. You used to sing it. You loved it.”
“Well, Daddy, I just don’t anymore,” she said, her hair flailing about as she began shaking her head with the fervor of someone being force-fed liverwurst. “They’re just no good. NO GOOD.”
Sigh. Kids these days.
I figured there was no point in furthering her anguish, so we moved on.  I can’t compel the kids to like anything, after all. Even something as near and dear to Dear Ol’ Dad as the origins of my kids’ names. There’s no accounting for taste, and I have to let Penny and Rigby develop their own tastes, however inaccurate those tastes may be.
“OK, sweetie. No sweat. What WOULD you like to listen to, then?”
“Um, I don’t know. Can you see if you can find the thrift store song?”
ContactPaul Laneat firstname.lastname@example.org.