Using initials for names. A petty, and yet small-minded rant.

People. People. Please for the love of all that is good and holy will you stop using initials to maintain the anonymity of the characters in your tales?

For example: “I have a friend. We’ll call her L. And a friend who we’ll call D. L and D. had a daughter Z. Z and her boyfriend M met when they were at a school named H. Now one day Z and her friend Y ran into M’s friend V and they all…”

And then I’m supposed to keep track of these letters and who they represent thorough 6 paragraphs of plot?? No way pal, ain’t gonna happen. It is completely impossible to follow random initials through a story. Think of your favorite magazine or based-on-a-true-story book. “Names have been changed to protect the innocent," not “Names have been initialized to make it fucking impossible to tell what the hell happens in the first place.”

I promise…no…I swear no one is going to think you actually have friends named Zebulon, Mordecai and Latayna if you use those names instead of their real names of Zach, Mike and Lisa. Hell I’ll even let ya call your buddy Zach “Crazy Motherfucker” and Lisa “Slutbitch From Hell”. But please please indulge me and assign fake names instead of initials so we can actually follow what is happening in your clever yet insightful story, instead of having to create our own little crib sheet to keep track of the frigging characters.

Thank you.

Heartily seconded!

So suppose that Zach the Crazy Motherfucker started getting initialized to CM and Lisa the Slutbitch from Hell started being refered to as SfH. Is that okay?

Shit, I thought this was going to be about using intiials for one’s own name. I was gonna tear you a new a-hole for that one, but I find myself in full agreement with the OP. Well said, T!

tasty G

I agree with this. When I see a “my friend A told my other friend B that he thinks our friend C has weeping genital sores,” my eyes glaze over and I click the “back” button.

Amen, brotha!

Although I’m not quite with you on the “Crazy Mothafucka” and “Slutbitch from Hell” suggestion. Using epithets for names often leads to a similar problem, because then you get “Well, my sister-in-law, who we’ll call Bitch…Then there’s my husband’s ex-wife, the Slut Bitch, and my stepdaughter, the Druggie Slut…” If you’re pitting several people at once, they probably share similar characteristics, so it’s hard to come up with unique names.

And that’s really the operative word: “unique”. Whether you call someone Maria or Hepzibah, you’ve given them individuality. “A” does not work the same way; neither does “Bitch from Hell”. Just call them Adam, Becky, Chuck and Diana and so forth, and be done with it.

But using initials helps in abstracting the story. They are useful for the same reason they are useful in math and logic.

Isn’t it much easier to comprehend the essence of this:

A -> B, ~B :: ~A

than this:

When Bob has cheated on Lisa, he gives her flowers. He has given her no flowers; therefore, he has not cheated on her.

Um… no?

Sista actually, but that’s cool. :smiley:

And you are right; unique is the point.

Me too, and I was going to mention that I have a coworker who goes by “BJ” which just ain’t right, man!

What if her name is Bea Jay?

Hmm…I really did have an uncle with the first name E.


Perhaps, but you’re using the letters to make a logical argument. The posters to which the OP refers usually aren’t making arguments, but telling a story. Also, they don’t use the letters to stand for statements, but to stand for names. That’s a straight substitution, and doesn’t simplify anything.

I agree with the OP; it annoys me as well. I usally immediately make up a name beginning with the letter they use, and follow the story in my own mind that way.

Similar rant - in 19th century novels, people are always talking about Lord D_____ of ________shire. For Christ’s sakes, if it’s a novel, just call him Lord Dumpling of Fotheringhamshire or something. He’s a fictional character anyway, for crying out loud!

What if the make believe names were “Bee”, “See”, “Dee”, “Eeeah”, “Doubleyou”, “Are”. . . :wink:

You sing it, sister! I really try to read OP’s that tell a story with initials, but after the 5th time scrolling back to see who “J” is again, I just give up.

You’re already anonymous - why are you trying to hide a first name, we don’t even know who you are?!

Um, whut? Ear? Eeyore? Is this a regional thing? :slight_smile:

You have a problem with my user name, too, don’t you? :slight_smile:

I actually changed it once a while back, when there was a person here named Devil May Care. People started abbreviating it to DMC when addressing him/her (I think her), and this was NOT someone you wanted to be confused with.

I believe her days were limited in number, and after the board crash and restore, my original user name was restored. I just left it.

That’s the euphamism you’re supposed to use when surreptiously refering to Howard Dean.

But…what if I’m Amish?

[sub]Um, yeah, then there’s that whole “what are you doing with electricity and internet access” thing to consider…[/sub]

I’m not sure why this thread is cracking me up, but you’ve made me laugh. Especially if I come across someone named Hepzibah.

What, you people have trouble with letters now, too? Oh, I know! It’s that complicated alphabet thing you never quite mastered, right? Maybe if you read the “a” thread a few times, you’ll get the hang of it. I know you can. :smiley: