Through the looking glass, and what Patrick found there

Welcome to

I wrote that sentence five seconds ago because it was kind of funny and ridiculous to contemplate. In the moment since, my browser fell on the actual, somehow existing, all-too-real An all-too-real newborn named Cooper Patrick had the address.

Why did I think of that address today? What led me to think someone in the world might one day have such a name? How surprised was I to find that day had not only arrived but also came with photo galleries?

Data, my friends. Mind-boggling data set me to blogging today. And just as I was joking to forget, and the punchline hit me in the face and the gut and the place in my soul where my name lives.

You see, Social Security yesterday released its annual review of the country’s most popular baby names. There were few changes to the top 10 lists in 2007, and the wires covered the news only briefly.

Looking deeper into the data, I was disappointed but not surprised to see Patrick had fallen several more spots. The name had been tumbling on the boy name list for decades. Last year’s data saw Patrick fall to #116, its worst baby-name showing since 1930.

Then I looked for Cooper. The search was a whim.

The results knocked me over. Cooper had somehow risen 18 spots in 2007 to become name #95. Among the first names, Cooper was now 21 spots ahead of Patrick. For the first time in recorded American history, my last name was a more popular first name than my own first name. The world had turned my name inside out.

I made a chart to help with the realization.

A few weeks ago, I’d saved the New York Times story about people with the same name finding each other online. I thought I might recap my close encounters with Patrick Cooper the stylist to the stars, Patrick Cooper the author, Patrick Cooper the British child, Patrick Cooper who used to have this URL, and Pat Cooper the comedian.

How soon we became old news.

A Jabberwock had struck. Cooper Patrick was the new Patrick Cooper.

6 thoughts on “Through the looking glass, and what Patrick found there”

  1. Hi. I am the mother of Cooper Patrick ( People always joke that we have a domain name for our son, but here’s why – my husband works in IT. And as for the name Cooper, we just loved it. Patrick is a family name. Thanks for the research on the name and the blog post in honor of our baby, we had a good laugh.

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