What’s In A Name?

Handles, monikers, nicknames, and aliases. I can’t locate people I knew back “in the day” because I suddenly realized that I only knew them by the chosen alias they used. For example, depending on our city, my road buddy Pebbles was known as Johnny Clay, Pebbles, or Tukey. Twenty ago, I saw him in a supermarket with his wife and three kids. His wife was hollering out for Roger to grab the baby. He dutifully chased after the toddler. I didn’t get to say hi. While walking towards them, the wife shot me a look that said I have three little kids and one adult child. Whatever you are selling, I have no time for it!

I am entirely amenable to alternate names, by the way. We used them to distinguish ourselves from other people with the same name or denote some individual characteristic. Like being called Rock to let people know you were taciturn.

To some people, aliases imply involvement in some criminal activity. A moniker like Scarface, Boom-Boom, Killer means trouble. These nicknames certainly can be used to refer to reputation.
For example, my old grey cat Clancy was known as the Grey Menace. He had a reputation for loving O negative blood and rare meat. The alias served as a warning; he was no pussy cat. He loved to behave all cuddly and cute until he had you rubbing his exposed belly. Then you get captured by claws and teeth, rabbit kicked and torn up. He’d lick the bloody bits off his nails with great appreciation as you washed off your injuries. Despite the grim moniker, some friends never learned that an invitation to play meant playing on his terms.

So sometimes, you should take an alias seriously. After all, a nickname like Jaws could have some more profound implications you should be aware of before becoming passionately involved with the young man or woman.

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