Okay. I'm going to tell a story here and now that I've flat-out refused to tell anyone for going on a decade and a half. No, it's not the sordid affair of romping in Jell-O every Friday with Mark... those stories we take to our graves, the right monetary offer notwithstanding.

This is the story of how I came to be called AAlgar. It all began during my junior year of high school, as I was being assimilated into the creative collective. Those were heady days, filled with late night sessions playing "Monkey Island," nervous auditions for drama performances that I'd only recently mocked from the outside and complicated drinking games orchestrated by Littleguy.

One thing I noticed quickly (I was quite observant) was how everyone had a cool nickname. Littleguy and Dave the Pinhead (aka Friar Phil) told exciting tales involving Data, The Nose, The Spud and The Goonmaster. Sometimes we also hung out with The Hair God, Squeaky and Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute. People with whom we interacted at GMHS got new names as well (Bob the Whiner, The Weenie), whether they knew it or not. Everyone had a cool nickname but me.

Suggestions were bandied about, all of which involved my ability to easily acquire alcohol. Squeaky had recommended "Obi-Ron Kenobi," since phone calls were often made to my house that involved the phrase "help us, you're our only hope." Jill (aka "Dances With Dye," LG's girlfriend at the time) threw out variations on Dionyses, the Roman god of spirits. I had suggested "Waldo," based on something a friend of my parents called me once, which I later found was meant in a derogatory sense. I'm kinda glad that one never stuck anyway... Bob made a much better Waldo than I.

So we're sitting at our table at lunch one day, eating or whatever it is we did at lunch. LG strolls up, wearing that typical excited LG head, and says "AAlgar!" I, and my table mates, look up and blink in response. LG continues grinning his manic grin, and repeats what I believe to be a random combination of syllables. "AAlgar!"

"What's that?" I ask, cautiously.

"It's you!" he says. This is all news to me.

"It's an acronym! It stands for All Around Liquor God And Rich guy!" (I was considered "the rich guy" because my parents owned a bar and we had a pool at our house. Roman's parents owned a bar also, but I think it was the pool that pushed me over the edge.)

I laughed politely, but I didn't think it would stick. For one thing, I wasn't especially comfortable being known solely for material contributions to the group -- especially since those contributions were really, through me, made by my parents. Nevertheless, Jason started using it, and it just stuck. After a couple of days, I had to admit that it actually sounded pretty cool -- like a fantasy character or minor deity.

Obviously I kept it. And, until now, I've allowed its meaning to remain a mystery... if only because it's just so damned unremarkable. I'm certainly no liquor god at this stage in my life, nor am I especially rich. (My wife and I enjoy a double-income-no-kids situation that makes us upper-middle-class, maybe... but I wouldn't call us "rich.") Anyway, it's always been more fun to keep people guessing about it. And it gives me a great excuse to use that line from Pulp Fiction: "I'm American, honey, our names don't mean nuts."



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