Tuesday, April 12, 2011

#10: J is for Jones

Jones is the 5th-most-common last name in the US as of the 2000 Census. (I haven't been able to find 2010 data yet.) This is a small slip - it was 4th in 1990, behind Smith, Johnson, and Williams, but Brown managed to just barely pass it.

Jones is an interesting name, because it's common enough that it's entered slang in at least two different ways. The first is as a term for addiction - a jones for something, jonesing for it. I'm certainly addicted to being me.

The other, though - Keeping Up with the Joneses. It bothers me, because really, we shouldn't care about that sort of thing. If my neighbor buys a nice car, it doesn't hurt me, and I shouldn't spend money just to match.

But then, that's the advantage of being a Jones. I don't have to keep up with them. They have to keep up with me. And if I don't feel like making that a challenge, then everybody's happy.

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