I look for patterns. This came in handy on high school math tests, when I was given a series of numbers and asked to determine the next number that belonged. This trait is also helpful for those online IQ quizzes, right up to the part where I'm asked to pay for the results. (Pay? How dumb do you think I am?)
Anyway, when deciphering patterns, the toughest challenge is a sample of one. This was the case in 2004 when self-proclaimed princess Gwyneth Paltrow and falsetto rocker Chris Martin had their first child, Apple. The general response was "Why would they do that to their child?" My response was a little different: "What are they trying to accomplish here?"
You can't solve a pattern with only one item as evidence. The best course is to develop theories, then eliminate them when other items come along. Here, without further information, Apple can represent so many things.
1. Fruits. Gwyneth did those pretentious Estee Lauder Pleasures ads, as if she's trying to be some sort of 21st century Earth Mother. So maybe her daughter's name carries the organic connotation. (You'd then wait to see if the next baby gets a moniker like Guava or Pomegranate. But not Banana -- too cruel.)
2. Computers. This would make more sense if Chris sang for Radiohead instead of Coldplay, but no matter. He could be making some sort of man vs. technology "Mr. Roboto" comment here anyway. (Look for future children to be named Dell or Compaq.)
3. Tortured female singer-songwriters. When I'm forced to think of Gwyneth, I attach a sort of WASPy aura to her, as if she's better than the rest of us. It's a youthful arrogance in the absence of genuine wisdom, like Fiona Apple. (To verify this theory, Apple Martin's sibling might be named Amos, or Morissette.)
I was wrong on all three counts. Last weekend, Gwyneth and Chris had a second child, who they named Moses. But of course! "She's working her way through the Old Testament," I explained to my sister. Mystery solved. I can relax now.
Come 2008, expect the couple to have a third child: Psalm.