I heard a very strange thing on BBC Breakfast
last week – something that made me stop in my tracks and utter an audible gasp. The presenter sounded like she said that 'still to come, we will be speaking with a baby name expert'. I did not catch the context for this extraordinary proclamation, nonetheless I was curious and appalled in equal measure. The questions started to pulse through my mind. What range of skillset would a baby name expert be equipped with? Where could you possibly enrol to train for such a position? What disciplines would be required? Did it follow academic or vocationally lead learning/training?
I then moved on to imagine scenarios through which such expertise might be sought. Perhaps, an excited couple, making their baby list as they prepare for the life-changing event, having decorated the long-neglected spare room and turned it into an inviting oasis of calm, jointly working their way through the well-thumbed and constantly amended 'new arrival' schedule. Cot, stroller, changing station, teeny baby grows, nappies, etc. But with that nagging doubt in their collective minds that something, something quite important was being overlooked.
Then the eureka moment – a name, we will need a name for the baby – quickly followed by despondency as they are met with the realisation that between them, they have no actual sense of imagination and they need to commercially engage a third party to advise them on possible names for their offspring.
So what other business opportunities might exist in these times where we appear to be literally (though I do actually mean metaphorically) selling coal to Newcastle? For starters, might we have numbers consultants? You know, advertising their wares through cheap radio adverts with a booming voiceover: 'Do you have any number just lying around in your home, doing nothing for you, then send them to the Numbers Guys and we can turn them into the sequential order that will finally make sense of them for you! We can handle all the entire number range from 0 through to 9, you'll be amazed, just give it a try, call a Numbers Guy'.
Maybe even shoe lace advisor, experts in the type, shape, texture and more importantly providence of your best fit and styled shoe lace or shoe lace range, a must for the discerning shoe lace wearer. More still, bus shelter authority, we have all been there. Standing at a bus stop in an unfamiliar town and admiring the craftsmanship of the structure and wondering, how could I find out more about this object, far from extraordinary in design and practical in equal measure? How about a gate alignment guru then? Seriously, are you telling me you have never had a negative experience with a gate you have owned and unsuccessfully tried to align?
Finally a TV watching advisor. We all watch the box (now more chance it is a big screen) but are we really watching it properly, let's get advice from an experienced professional and ensure we get the most out of the viewing experience. No, me neither!
Getting back to names, my wee mum had a great system. I was the fifth child of five and frequently referred to as John, Kathleen, James, Maureen, Francis. Simple and effective.
If you would like to contribute to the Cafe, please email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org