These are the Jennifers I knowBy Wade Kwon
Iâ€™ve come out of my shell in the last year, networking and socializing and the like. The one odd side effect of this is an explosion of Jennifers.
You heard me: Iâ€™m swimming in Jennifers.
Jen warned me about this: A clever book called â€œThe Baby Name Wizardâ€ has a clever site that charts the relative popularity of names from the past century. You can see all names, all boysâ€™ names, all girlsâ€™ names or a name of your choosing.
(â€œFreakonomics,â€ which recently reached its one-year anniversary, also spends a chapter on baby names, melding innovative economic research with sociological posits. The chapter: â€œWould a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?â€ complete with study guide.)
For instance, Wade (the name, not the person) hit its popularity in the 1960s, with more than 300 babies out of every million babies (or half-million boys) given the name.
But Jennifer was the No. 1 name in the 1970s. Close to 18,000 out of every million babies (or half-million girls) were blessed or cursed with the moniker. In 2004, itâ€™s still in the Top 40 of names, whereas Wade never cracked the Top 200 at its peak and today is ranked a lowly No. 522.
The Wades I know, alas, would be a very short story. (Only one other springs to mind, a high school classmate at times rumored to be dead, still very much alive or me. I assure you he is not me.)
These are the Jennifers I know. Some of them are Jens, one is Jenny. They come from different moms.
(in alphabetical order)
Jennifer: Married then divorced one of my friends. They both moved on to bigger and better, but she got the toaster oven.
Jennifer: College housemate. Went from happy-go-lucky to unbalanced in two semesters in our six-person nuthouse. Likely much saner nowadays.
Jennifer: High school classmate who became a doctor. Never did understand her penchant for babies or â€œPure Country.â€
Jennifer: Not a high school classmate by several years. I still owe her an e-mail. Once told her she looked like a Dixie Chick.
Jennifer: Another non-high school classmate by one year. She was Jennifer Something and then got married and became Jennifer Something Else.
Jennifer: Another high school classmate who looked pretty much the same at the 15-year reunion.
Jennifer: A colleague from the newspaper who went on to become a great reporter and mom and wife. I knew her back when.
Jennifer: The first Jennifer I ever dated. A short relationship, but no regrets. Probably mother of my child.
Jennifer: College classmate and pep band manager. I think I stayed on her good side for the one semester as conductor and five semesters as member. Still waiting for that promised invitation to her wedding.
Jennifer: An online crush in progress.
Jennifer: A new face in town into the film scene and Macs.
Jennifer: A local moviemaker who throws great Oscar parties and is trying to fund a new film.
Jennifer: Another high school classmate who I havenâ€™t seen since.
Jennifer: My new real-life pal and e-mail chat buddy who doesnâ€™t know me well enough yet to know that Iâ€™m a bitter old fool.
Jennifer: Another high school classmate who I see all the time and advises me on clothes and grooming. She has cats, but I still like her.
Jennifer: Another high school classmate who was rumored to be a baby machine and a drug addict. Hopefully not at the same time.
Jennifer: A composite of five Jennifers who didnâ€™t work out as online crushes.
Twenty-one Jennifers … hit me.