It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
I recently read a book, an excellent book I must add, and its male protagonist was called J.T. Wilder. In the entire book, more than 350 pages, his name wasn’t mentioned once.
It started me thinking: why would a man call himself J.T.? Why not John or Jeremy or whatever his name is? Does he hate his name so much? Why doesn’t he change it then, go the legal route? Or was it his parents who called him J.T.? Why? Or maybe he can’t decide which one of his names he wants to use: his first name or his middle name.
In my whole life, and I’m close to a retirement age, I’ve never encountered anyone who would substitute their name with their initials, unless it is fiction. Obviously, it is not a common occurrence in real life. Of course, there is O.J. Simpson, but he seems almost a fictional character too.
For me, J.T. or O.J. feels less like a human name and more like a robot designation. I mean, you all know C3PO from Star Wars, but it was an android. A computer could be J.T. with a number, like JT-71. I wouldn’t blink. But a man? A man should have a name.
Where does this odd naming convention originate? Is it an American phenomenon or has it drifted here from Britain? When did it start? 20th century? 19th century? Before? Is it an English language quirk, or would French or German people use such a naming practice? Does it depend on the letters of the initials? J.T. sounds okay, I guess, but my son’s initials, for example, are I.Y. Would anyone use those instead of a name? It sounds funny.
What do you think about this naming approach? Could you answer any of my questions? Have you ever met anyone outside of books or television who would call himself by his initials? Would you name your character or introduce yourself in such a way? If yes, why?
My writing news:
I’m participating in a drabble competition on the Writing Writers website. For your information, a drabble is a short-short story in exactly 100 words. They even give a monetary price to the winner, the one who gets the highest number of votes. If you’re interested in drabbles, here is a link to mine. Go there and read my story. Vote if you like it. The voting will be open until March 10th.