Today in crushing blows to my self-esteem


It just keeps getting worse and worse for Peter Lynn.

First, I was looking at some US Social Security Administration data on baby names, so I looked up the popularity of the name “Peter”. Since 1880, it’s hovered pretty steadily around the top 50 names for boys, with its lowest ever rank being 62 (1904, 1905, and 1932). From the late 1930s to the early 1970s, it scored very respectably in the 30s and 40s. In 1974, the year I was born, it ranked number 50, and from that point, it’s dropped steadily in popularity. By 1984, it had dropped to 60. By 1994, it had slid to 87. By 2004, it had diminished to 142, and by 2006, only two years later and the last year for which data is available, it had slid all the way to 167. It’s not quite the precipitous drop suffered by the name “Adolf” after the 1930s, but the fact remains that ever since I’ve been around, mothers have been increasingly reluctant to name their sons “Peter”, and I can’t help but take that a little personally.

Next, I did a Facebook search on my own name. (I did this because there’s a Cracked Facebook group that mentions me, and I wanted to see if it would come up in a search of my name.) No surprise, I found my own profile, but I also found that of another Peter Lynn who (a) also lives in Toronto, (b) is younger, (c) is considerably more square-jawed and handsome, and (d) belongs to a Chris Pronger fan club. That last one feels particularly like a shot at me, because since Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final on Saturday night, when Pronger laid a flagrant and vicious elbow on the Senators’ Dean McAmmond, all my Facebook status messages have called for Pronger’s suspension, beheading, or death in a house fire. But the more I look at this other Peter Lynn’s profile, the fishier it smells. For one thing, he only joined this Pronger fan club yesterday. For another, he doesn’t have any friends listed. So I wonder if I haven’t stumbled across an invented profile created as some sort of scheme to pull a joke on me. Whether he’s real or fake, neither option makes me feel any better.

And third, when I was searching for my own name, I found out my dad was on Facebook. At first, I thought that it surely had to be another Dennis Peter Lynn. (I bear my dad’s middle name, although we’re both named after my grandmother.) But then I clicked to see his list of friends, and sure enough, there’s my sister. So my own father is on Facebook for some reason and doesn’t want to be my friend. What the hell, people?

8 Responses to “Today in crushing blows to my self-esteem”

  1. 1 Wygo

    This post has nothing to do with the post above.
    As I’m perusing the Cracked homepage, I see the following headline in the Newspicks section:
    “Comedy supergroup: Jack Black, Harold Ramis, Owen Wilson and Judd Apatow team up”.
    Looks like we’re taking some liberties with the word ‘supergroup’, aren’t we Owen, and to a lesser extent, Jack?

  2. Well, they are members of the Frat Pack.

  3. 3 Scott

    If this new Peter Lynn is indeed a practical joke I’m absolving myself of guilt on it immediately. It has nothing to do with me this time.

  4. Mike has already promised me that we’re going to look into this on his next visit. If he is a real guy, he ain’t going to be so pretty no more.

  5. 5 Susan

    Hey, Susan was at 86 the year I was born, and is now 611. That’s right. My life is much worse than yours. Except that MY dad likes me!

  6. British surveys in the 1970s rated Susan and David as the sexiest names. I’m not sure where it rates now, but unless it’s dropped considerably, I think you’re doing okay.

    Besides, I’ve seen pictures. You’re doing okay regardless.

  7. Dunno if you’ve seen this, but it’s a pretty cool graphical analysis of the popularity of baby names and their derivatives:

  8. As a matter of fact, I just found that site a couple of days ago through a link from a Bill Simmons column. Neat, isn’t it?

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