What was Mrs. McCave thinking? Now we know.

Originally published Jun 27, 2011

A note from The Name Inspector: This is a sneak preview from What Was I Thinking?,  a new memoir by Delores Delicious McCave, the author, wife, and mother whose twenty-three sons have put her in the spotlight and inspired the sympathy and incredulity of millions. These excerpts from her diary, which appear in her memoir, give us unprecedented insight into her unusual decision to name all of her sons Dave.

Bodkin Van Horn

Has a solid Dutch feel, lightened by the cute sound of Bodkin. But is it too similar to the Wibbits’s son’s name, Popkin von Pickle? And what exactly is a bodkin?


Like the rhyme and all those Os. Double Google magic! But it just sounds like something you’d shout when you’re playing foosball. I think Dave might still be the name to beat.


Short and distinctive. I like it. But the final m gets blended with the M in McCave. Dave McCave works better (and has the rhyme).


Another rhyming name, but more meaningful than Hoos-Foos. Problem: A little braggy, and might make people think of body shots–kind of inappropriate for a child. Dave definitely safer.

Sunny Jim

Simple and optimistic. Problem: Isn’t it a brand of beef jerky? Check this, stick with Dave if necessary.


Has a badass urban feel that I like, but it’s actually an ancient name! And it goes well with McCave. I kind of want to, but  do I have the guts?


When he came out he was just all blinky! I think it’s cute, and the e in there makes it more subtle. Will only work if he stays blinky, though.


When this little guy cried for the first time, it sounded like he had a cold! But I don’t want people to think stuffy as in uptight.


Kind of an inside joke about the whole meconium incident. I’m beginning to see now that the “seven dwarves” naming strategy isn’t really working. Leaning toward more traditional names like Dave.


Drove past a miniature golf course and got the idea that this might make a good baby name! Ask the girlfriends what they think.

Moon Face

Even though this is descriptive like Blinkey, Stuffy, and Stinkey, it’s way more poetic. Does it suggest mooning around, though? I DON’T want a sad name.

Marvin O’Gravel Balloon Face

Kind of crazy, I know, but it has great rhythm, and it honors Grandpa Balloon Face. Might be too long (and too Irish, if that’s possible!) with McCave.


Heard this name and thought it was cute. Saw the comic strip, though, and got a little creeped out by the man-baby.

Soggy Muff

Dave Sr. and I think it will be funny to tell everyone we’re seriously considering this name, just to see their reactions. We tried to come up with the worst name we could without actually using dirty words. (We’ve already decided to go with Dave.)

Buffalo Bill

We like the idea of naming him after a historical figure. Presidents’ names are too cliched, though. Buffalo Bill was a famous cowboy, I think, but I don’t know anything else about him–check Wikipedia.

Biffalo Buff

We really liked the sound of Buffalo Bill last time around, but don’t want the “buffalo killer” association, so we’ve played around with it a little. Might still be too close.


I was thinking about the seven dwarves again and started playing around with their names, changing letters and stuff. I kind of like this–distinctive but still vaguely familiar sounding. Could be taken as a blend of “sneaky” and “creepy,” though.

Weepy Weed

The alliteration and the image seemed sort of emo and poetic at first, but seeing this in print makes me realize it’s just way too sad.

Paris Garters

Kind of edgy, especially for a boy. Maybe too edgy.

Harris Tweed

Sounds really classic, especially with McCave. Not sure who Harris Tweed was, though.

Sir Michael Carmichael Zutt

We were bummed when we found out Harris Tweed is actually a kind of cloth. Trying again for a classic sound. I like just Sir Michael Carmichael, but Dave Sr. thinks we should “jazz it up” with Zutt, the name of his first startup. I think that makes it too long with McCave, though. And the Sir part might be a little pretentious.

Oliver Boliver Butt

I asked Dave Sr. to be in charge of names this time, and this is what he came up with. You can’t give a kid a name with “butt” in it! I’m beginning to think he just wants to go with Dave again.

Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

This is definitely that last time we’re doing this, because Dave Sr. has promised to get the vasectomy, but we’re all named out. So we decided to crowdsource. We asked for suggestions, had people vote, and combined the top three. I just don’t see having McFate right before McCave, though. At this point I think we’ll just stick with Dave.

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