Coming up with some form of alias, whether it be your stage name, your rapper name, or your superhero name, started as a word-of-mouth tradition, then its spread was heavily accelerated by social media, as these kinds of things so often are. You probably know how these name-generating games work: your stage name might be your middle name and the name of your first pet, or your rapper name might be an adjective describing the current weather and your initials (“Partly Cloudy CJ”).
In a previous column I suggested a bluegrass stage name-generating system that involved taking the last name of your favorite bluegrass artist and combining it with your hometown, e.g. “Flatt Middletown.” “Scruggs San Francisco” doesn’t work quite as well.
As with most things that proliferate on social media, it doesn’t take long for someone to begin using it for evil. Asking people to offer up their stage names becomes an easy identity theft ploy, especially since banks and other institutions came up with the brilliant idea of using pet names as a way to identify you over the phone (by “pet name,” I mean the name of your pet, not couples’ embarrassing pet names for each other, like “Love Bucket” or “Snooky-pie,” though I did once have a goldfish named “Snooky-pie”).
The latest craze is pandemic-related names and other pandemic personal identifiers: Your pandemic theme song, your pandemic nickname, your pandemic crush, your pandemic novel title, etc.
Do we need pandemic era bluegrass names? Of course we do. We need everything right now. We should have the opportunity to give out personal information to potential identity thieves as much as anyone, shouldn’t we? Here are a few to try out. Put yours in the comments section below, but if you find unauthorized credit card purchases or loans taken in your name, I take no responsibility.
Pandemic bluegrass band name: choose one word from column A and one word from column B:
- Socially distant
- Mountain Boys
Alternate column B for progressive/jam band:
Your pandemic theme song:
The 6th song from the first Ralph Stanley album you ever purchased (I got You Know I’ll Be Lonesome).
Name of your next pandemic fiddle tune:
Choose one of the following words or phrases:
- Surgeon General
- Hand sanitizer
Add the phrase “on the”
Then add the first thing you see looking out your kitchen window. Example: “Surgeon General on the Spruce Tree”
Finally, your pandemic murder ballad character name:
Your last name, plus your date of birth (MM/DD/YY), plus the last 4 digits of your social security number, plus “Willie.”
As I have before, I offer the disclaimer that this is a humor column, meant to look at the lighter side of the bluegrass music world. There’s definitely a place for laughter in this trying and unusual time, but this in no way disregards the seriousness of the current situation. Let’s use this time to pull together (while 6 feet apart), be mindful of others, especially those who are risking their lives on the front lines of the disease and those who have been directly affected by it. It may be a cliche now, but let’s stay safe and help each other get down the road to better times.