Column: Thinking more about names and character

So, if, as I wrote last week, our oldest daughter’s name should have been “Grace,” there is no question that our second child should be named “Crash.” As in, “Crash Test.”

It’s hard to tell that now, actually. See, as she grew up, she became much better aware of her surroundings, so crashing into stuff became a much less frequent occurrence.

And, for the record, yes — she totally got that from my side of the family.

Even as she grew older, though, there was a still a wonderful, bold, forward quality to how she approached life. Like, when she made a mistake, there was a Cassie-shaped hole in the wall, not unlike Wile E. Coyote. The beauty part was that she didn’t make many mistakes, and that boldness made her an outstanding student leader, and, I believe, will make her a really good teacher.

Boldness is an increasingly rare quality, I think. Well, except for online. Online everybody has the boldness of two tequilas, because the anonymity of the ether makes it possible to believe you’re safe. That’s not really true, of course, as old posts and picts and twits have started to cost people opportunities in the present. But, still, people say things online that they would never say in person.

Which seems like a real indictment of the cowardice of the age.

We’re so used to the creature comforts of the modern era that we’ve forgotten what it is to act. We think, we plan, we have committee meetings, we fall back on platitudes and, when things don’t go how we hoped, we comfort ourselves with our good intentions and give bonus points for trying. We even actively discourage the sort of activities that breed boldness, dismissing as “dangerous” and “toxic” those —admittedly, sometimes foolish — acts that foster decisiveness and courage under fire. And then we sit on our high horses and condemn (after the fact, of course) those who have the courage to act when they, sometimes, get it wrong.

But any cursory glance at the front page of a newspaper tells you that we’re coming up on a time when boldness will be required, when the mentality to act in the face of the encroaching darkness will be necessary.

That is why I have always taken a sort of perverse…