Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Get Common

One would suppose that a very common first name and a pretty ordinary surname would coincide very frequently. Yet, I moved every couple of years as a kid and didn't even hear of another Michael Ball until I was an adult. Everybody knew people with the last name, but not the combo. I met hundreds of males with last name, but no Mikes.

Ironically, the first time I knew of another one, it helped me. I was a Boston stringer for a computer weekly. I called up Lotus when CEO Mitch Kapor was thinking of leaving. I identified myself by name only and asked for him. The operator put me though. To his credit, when he found out that I wasn't the big shot U.K. advertising executive that he did know, he did continue to speak with me and gave me some news (although not of the resignation that soon followed).

By the bye, in the last U.S. census, Michael was the fourth most common first name. Ball was the 320th most common surname, less common than Barker and Bush but more frequent than Keller and Chandler. For the politically curious, Kerry ties with a long list and comes in as 14,023rd most common surname.

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