What’s in a (user)name?

What’s in a name? Like me, I bet many of you are curious about the origins of some of the quirky and mysterious usernames created by our favorite blog heroes. Through correspondence and interaction on Word Press you may even know many of them by their birth names.

I have had many nicknames over the years, some of them not so flattering, some pretty obvious, while others have been enigmatic. A true nickname is bestowed upon you by others. Hopefully, the cruel ones don’t stick.

Some parents agonize over the naming of their children, and for good reason; their best intentions can lead to a lifetime of teasing and tormenting. “What were they thinking?” Not too many people enjoy being a punch-line.

My parents took what they thought was the logical route, naming me after my father. This guaranteed decades of confusion. “Do you want senior or junior?” “Big Larry or little larry?”

Larry! Shortened version of Lawrence which appears on my birth certificate. Usually associated with sleazy old school video game characters, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards,  your retired uncle in Florida, used car salesmen, or Larry David, who inspired the George Costanza character on Seinfeld.


In the sitcom, Save Your Enthusiasm, Larry David plays a character loosely based on himself. Cheryl Hines plays Larry’s wife on the series, and whenever she begins a sentence, “Lar-ry…” I know he did something wrong and is in trouble. Believe me, nothing good ever follows “Lar-ry.” From my personal experience it is, “Lar-ry, what did you do?” or, “Lar-ry, I told you…” or simply, “LARRY!” Substitute, “Lar-ry” with “thick-headed moron,” and you get the general idea.

Only my maternal grandfather and teachers have called me Lawrence and I would say it sounds a bit classier, like Sir Laurence (“u” substituted for “w”) Olivier, although I’ve heard through interviews with other actors that he would sometimes go by Larry backstage, usually when engaging in some kind of crass humor or just plain acting catty toward fellow actors.

Which brings me finally to nicknames and usernames; sometimes interchangeable, sometimes not. Often they are the creation of the writer, not the gift of a friend or family member. We all have our personal favorites and I’ve settled on a couple. L-Mo is concocted in the same fashion as J-Lo, J-Law or A-Rod, taking the first letter of my beloved Larry and hyphenating with the first two letters of my last name.  Many years ago, a co-worker caught me off guard blurting it out as it occurred to him. The smartass little red creature from Sesame Street immediately came to mind. “Why are you calling me Elmo?” He smirked and opened his eyes wide for effect, “You’re L-Mo.” I am sometimes a bit dense, but finally got it and laughed. I am more like the furry little guy than any of the aforementioned celebs.


As for my Word Press username, Poison21, I’ve already reveled its origin in an earlier post. I will tell you that it is not in tribute to the 80’s hair band, and can assure you that I have no plans to send you an anthrax-laced letter. It is something much more wholesome, and as American as apple pie.

So, where did your username come from? Is it a nickname, or a carefully crafted representation of your blog’s theme? How about your birth name? Do you think that a particular name predisposes a child to a certain personality or lifestyle? Poison needs to know.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: