What’s In a Name?

By Jason Menard

A name can be a powerful thing. It can serve as a calling card for generations to come. It can serve to intimidate one’s opponents – either on the field of play or in battle. And it can be a definitive statement about one’s prowess.

Or you can be ‘Useless’ Ulysses Gomez.

The other night I was absent-mindedly watching TV while working on another project. In the background, some mixed-martial-arts competition was playing. I didn’t pay attention to the match – it was serving largely as background white noise for my work. That is until I heard the ring announcer name one of the match’s participants. And that’s when I heard the worst nickname in all of sports – Useless.

Useless. Really? Nicknames in sport are supposed to intimidate – the only way this name could aid Gomez’s chances of winning is by incapacitating his opponent with laughter.

I learned early on about the importance of nicknames. It was during high school when we were preparing for a Latin banquet. Our role was to provide entertainment in the form of a mock gladiator spectacle. We had everything choreographed and I was to serve as the announcer. And that’s when it happened.

My friend came up to me and said, “Jay, I think I’ve got the perfect name for my gladiator.”

“OK,” I replied, “What is it [name withheld to protect the not-so-innocent. Or bright.]?”

“I want to be called The Beast of Bestiality.”

Pause.

Longer pause to gather myself.

Pause while I considered allowing him to go through with this.

One more pause while I considered how much trouble I’d get in if I actually let him go through with this.

“Uhm, listen [Beast of Bestiality], I really think you should reconsider,” I said. “You do know what bestiality is, right?”

“Yeah,” he replied. “It means being savage. Fighting your opponent like you were a wild animal.”

“Uhm, no,” I explained. “It means you like to do unspeakable things to furry animals.”

And a crisis – and a potential moment of comedic gold – was averted.

Nicknames are important. I can rattle off a few and you’re likely to know to whom I’m referring: Dr. J, The Chicoutimi Cucumber, Sweetness, and The Flower come to mind. There are also nicknames that can only be held by one person: The Great One and Air. Other nicknames have usurped the person’s actual name as a way to identify them: Magic Johnson and Tiger Woods are examples of that.

Unfortunately, nicknames are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Today’s athletes don’t put in the effort that they used to. Now it’s simply a matter of adding a ‘y’ or an “ie” to the end of their first or last names: names like Chelly or Burnsie.

It makes me miss the days of Chocolate Thunder, Charlie Hustle, and Crazy Legs. That said, I may be part of the problem.

After all, I put the kibosh on The Beast of Bestiality.

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One thought on “What’s In a Name?

  1. Homme de Sept-Iles

    Those pauses. My laughs got louder with each one. You are a kind man. Both the Bestial One and I owe you thanks. Mine is for the shout out. Hope once M-Dash hits the high life, you’ll have the momentum and inclination to fire something over our way.

    Best,

    HDS

    PS: Since you have the m-dash in your title, I might ask what are the rules for me and I again? Yeah, I oughta remember. I know.

    Reply

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