"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet." - Shakespeare
My life’s been uneventful of late. How uneventful? I count a recent colonoscopy as an adventure. Fear not. I won’t share details except to say any day without a colonoscopy is a good one.
At dark-thirty on the morning of my procedure, the nurses at the outpatient center buzzed with excitement over what they considered a strange coincidence/eerie convergence: four out of eight female patients scheduled were named Patricia. Spooky?
In fact, there’s a logical explanation. Most Americans (those of us lucky enough to have health insurance, anyway) are urged to get our first colorectal-cancer screening at or around age fifty. In other words, the female patients who showed up that morning likely were born in 1963 or earlier.
In the 1960’s, Patricia was the sixth most common name given to girl babies. Don’t believe me? The Social Security Administration keeps track of these things. In the 1950’s, Patricia was the third most popular name for baby girls according to the SSA.
Those SSA charts come in handy when I’m stuck for a character name. But that’s not all, folks. Here’s a fun infographic of THE most popular girl’s name, state-by-state in the U.S. every year between 1960 and 2012. I'm amazed at how fast a name catches on and how far its popularity spreads.
If that infographic’s right, a lot of women named Lisa soon will make appointments for colonoscopies. Meanwhile, I think about all the Sophias born last year. Forty-nine years from now, will they await colonoscopies at dark-thirty in the morning, or will medical advances make the procedure obsolete? I’m betting on the latter.
Is your name commonplace or unusual? If it’s commonplace, do you secretly long for a name that sets you apart? If it’s unusual, do you yearn for one that doesn’t cause heads to turn when the barista at Starbucks calls your name?