There will be NO Badger Karolevitz By Bob Karolevitz I'll bet it never occurred to you that Adam and Eve had no last names.
Neither did Abraham, Moses, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Leviticus and all of those other Old Testament patriarchs and prophets.
Apostles and disciples, too, were just Peter, James, Thomas, Paul, Timothy or Judas, with no surnames to identify them further. It was the same with the saints like Scholastica, Bede, Bernard, Cecelia, Jerome, Augustine, Benedict and even Patrick and Valentine.
Then there was the period in history when individuals were known by such descriptive titles as Richard the Lionhearted, Atilla the Hun, Eric the Red, Ivan the Terrible and Alexander the Great.
I guess it was the British who started labeling people by occupation. That is why names like Baker, Fisher, Carpenter, Smith (like in blacksmith), Porter, Taylor and maybe even Bishop and Cook came about.
The Scandinavians adopted the "son of" system, so the phone books are full of Carlsons, Gundersons, Petersons, Olsons, Hansons, Johnsons, with a few Torkelsons thrown in.
Now, of course, everybody has a family monicker, like Netanyahu, Takahari, Rosenbaum, Novotny, Schwartz, Garrity, Karolevitz and Arafat. First names, though, fascinate me the most.
I don't know who keeps track of that sort of thing � probably the Social Security and Census Bureau folks � but somebody determined which first names were most popular in the U.S. each year from 1900 through 1997.
For boys, Michael was number one for 41 of those years, with John a distant second at 27. I was pleased to learn that Robert came in third at 18. Parents of girls chose Mary as the most popular name for 56 of the 98 years. In the '70s and '80s Jennifer was favored for 15 years.
Maybe it was the rebellion of the '60s that caused it, but all of a sudden the old favorites quit showing up on birth certificates. Boys named Tanner, Cody, Jordan, Dylan, Brandon and Ryan replaced William, George, Charles, Edward, Joseph and other long-accepted standards.
Gone, too, were Elizabeth, Ruth, Dorothy, Margaret, Anne and Dolores for the girls. They were succeeded by Samantha, Amanda, Amber, Brittany, Brooke, Ashley and Madison.
I'm sorry to say that Phyllis didn't show up on any of the listings. That's bad, too, because according to a plaque on one of our walls, it means "growing in grace," which is a pretty good description when one gets a little older.
Selecting a name for a new-born is very serious business for young parents. Lots of factors are involved. Sometimes a popular figure of the era � like Michael Jordan, for instance � has a great impact on choices.
In our case, we picked one-syllable names for our daughters � Jan and Jill � to offset the longer Polish handle. And now I'll tell you a little family secret.
The reason why we never had a son was because I told Phyllis that, if we did, I wanted to name him after South Dakota's old poet laureate.
Her response was final. She said with firm and total conviction: "There will be NO Badger Karolevitz!"