On "Lost," the character of Jacob is a shadowy figure. He appears to command allegiance, and yet, few people have ever seen him. He is more of an idea than a man. And his influence extends well beyond his physical presence.
The same could be said for the name "Jacob," which is one of the great demographic mysteries of our time.
Jacob has been the most popular baby name in the United States for the past 10 years, according to the Social Security Administration (every single year it's ranked No. 1). And yet, has anyone ever seen a baby named Jacob? I sure haven't.
I take that back. I have encountered ONE Jacob. It was on the playground a few weeks ago. He was probably five or six, and his parents appeared to be Dominican. But surely Dominicans can't be single-handedly setting the baby-naming agenda in this country?
What the heck is going on here? Is this some kind of massive coverup by the SSA — on the order of the Kennedy assassination or the fake moon landing?
When "Michael" reigned supreme from the 1960s to the 1990s, it was very evident: I know a ton of Michaels. You can't swing a stick at people born during that time without hitting one.
These days, I would say the most popular baby names are the following (based on our social circle, at least):
We know four or five parents who have named their kid Jack, and I've encountered three or four Sophias. No one I know has even entertained the name Jacob.
Where are all the Jacobs?
UPDATE: We had a Jacob sighting at Yerba Buena playground today: a boy about Elliot's age.