What’s in a name? A good deal, judging by Google.
I changed my name some ten years back, after living quite comfortably with my birth moniker for the better part of two decades. I didn’t stray far — no “Norma Jean” for “Marilyn,” “Patsy Anne McClenny” for “Morgan Fairchild,” or “Frances Ethel Gumm” for “Judy Garland.” I settled for a variant and even kept my middle and last names, knowing damn well I wasn’t worthy of a mononym.
The obscene popularity of “Jennifer” was the reason I’d decided to ditch it in the first place. I’d already known that it was one of the most popular names of my generation, not because of the best-selling baby-naming book Beyond Jennifer and Jason (which has since been renamed to reflect more recent trends) but because 15% of the co-ed hallway in my freshman dorm claimed the same name. My sister, who disliked her name much more than I did, convinced me to make the switch. And thus Jenna Robbins was born. Again. And not for the first time.
Just two weeks ago, a namesake of mine emailed me to “say hi to herself.” That prompted me to search Google to see how my name ranked, and to see how many others could claim the same byline. For the sake of disambiguation, I am not a:
- British alternative health expert (who spells her surname with a single B and also specializes in baby massage)
- Child missing since 1989
- “Junior hunter” from Maryland (hell, no)
- Volunteer for the Colorado Historical Society
- British youngster who created a nation-wide environmental mascot (kudos to her!)
- Canadian policy maker
- A sorority member from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
- Santa Monica student who rips off Harry Potter artwork
So far, I’ve yet to find another “Jenna Rose Robbins.” So consider that moniker claimed.