Avatars and Nicknames - have we evolved?
Sunday, December 3, 2006

My uncle "Gino" died last week. He was 90 years old. Gino was his nickname. Don't know where he got it. Guess I'll ask my cousins.

My mother died when I was in my early 30's and my father a few years ago. There is only one uncle still living so my brother and I have become the matriarch and patriarch of our immediate family. We grew up in a small town, extended family, grandparents lived with us growing up, lots of aunts and uncles and cousins around. If you couldn't walk or ride your bike you didn't go - most of the time.

The people we knew were all colorful characters, mostly Irish and German immigrant stock. The men in particular all had nicknames, like Chicken, and Potts and Jupe. My dad was called George altho that wasn't his name. I asked him once how he got to be called that nickname. He said when he was in the Marines in WWII in the South Pacific, whenever anything needed to be done, they'd say "Let George do it." He frowned and his eyes looked faraway when he said it. My dad was the kind of person who didn't talk just to hear himself talking. When he had something to say, people listened.

Everyone had stories, too. The folks in my family were all story tellers, some would call them bullshitters, but I loved the stories. My dad had a character called Goose Goblin and every night he would tell my brother and I stories about Goose Goblin. We loved it! My Uncle Ralph was more for the ghost stories. He could creep out the best of em.

Somehow the stories and the nicknames seemed to fit together. I still love a good story. I've written a few and quite a number tunes over the years. My anam cara (soul friend) told me she supposed that my love of FF derives from my love of story - of the amazing and impossible put into words and brought to life - a way leaving day-to-day struggles and, for a little while, explore the edges of mystery.

So, now we have avatars - don't hear about nicknames so much these days - it's avatars that give us the ability to be more than what we are, to play at who we wish we were or might have been. I truly did love those stories and have a few of them written down. When I think of those folks who lived thru so much, sacrificed and did without - they earned those nicknames - can we say the same about ourselves?

My avatar name is Siri - it means "beloved." Not sure I've lived up to that one. Perhaps it's about striving for something not necessarily claiming to have made it.

"We all die alone."


Sunday, December 3, 2006 8:28 PM


Probably will never live up to my avatar name in RL...not quite made for the life of a soldier. Though I do hope to finally get around to the story I was working on at one point that deals with how I came up with it;)

And you're lucky, Siri....most of my relatives live on the opposite side of the Atlantic from me. Haven't seen my paternal aunt and her family since I was 4:(


Sunday, December 3, 2006 4:31 PM


I like the name Siri.

Kelai is a derivation of both Kaylee (pure) and Kelly (warrior).So I just say it means "pure warrior"

Sunday, December 3, 2006 2:32 PM


An interesting thought. Shamanic tradition (I'm using the singular to lump together numerous traditions as a generalized whole) includes the idea of wearing masks not to hide, but to reveal our "true" faces (the ones we ~are,~ as opposed to the ones we're born with).

Online avatars (*) and handles are effectively an evolution of that, more than mere nicknames. They are the personas we choose to put forth and be known as, rather than the identity forced upon us by circumstances often beyond our control. People now get nicknames that are based upon their handles (FMF = Futuremrsfilion, TCM = Tenthcrewmember, Snark = me, etc)

(* An "avatar" of course being the word for a god/demon/spirit incarnated in a physical form --the avatar is a convenient facade, while the actual supernatural being is Elsewhere, perhaps lounging in a cosmic office chair in His bathrobe. Perhaps one day our own online identities will use "avatars" of their own. . .)

Sunday, December 3, 2006 11:25 AM


Siri was given to me by Yogi Bhagan shortly before he died in 2004. Actually Siri Pritnam but I like Siri.

That's another thing, now we choose our avatars or screen names. It used to be your nickname was "bestowed upon you" whether you liked it or not. In fact the more you didn't like it, the more people called you by that name. Human nature, I guess.

Sunday, December 3, 2006 10:45 AM


Siri - have you read Hyperion? (Excellent sci-fi book, my favorite really.) There's a character named Siri in it, I've always wandered if you chose your name from that.

Sunday, December 3, 2006 10:07 AM


I know exactly what you mean. My avatar name is Reginaroadie because it alludes to two fantasys of mine. To be a roadie for a really great rock band that travels all around North America and to be able to see all of the continent in a summer. And to just get in the car and drive and drive nonstop in my lifelong road trip.


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