The original version of this content appeared on the Aztec server in the Hodge’s Library, Systems Department, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the early 1990s. It was written to explain the name of Schnurmann to those on Lamda MOO. I had tired of giving the whole story and made a we page explaining it. Even the former high school classmate, Kevin Pelch, mentioned in the article found his name on the Internet and contacted me. This was long before the search engines were covered in irrelevant results. Yeah, back in the glory days.
Growing up, several people gave me various nicknames. Most of them were not kind, so they were not used passed that person. In 1983, we moved to Patch Barracks, Vaihingen, Germany. This meant attending the similarly named Patch American High School (yeah, the military can be so original). In 10th grade World History class, Kevin Pelch gave me the nickname Ropeman due to my pantomiming the video game he played nearly constantly in the bowling alley. The name stuck and some people called my Ropeman the rest of the year.
The school year 1984-85 dawned with me in 11th grade and Kevin no longer there. Few called me Ropeman, nearly solely my friend Bruce Platter. It looked as though the nickname would fade forever. Then German III my senior year happened.
Senior year arrived like any other. As I had for German I, Herr Dobner war meinen Lehrer. Then came the chapter with Spitznamen and we all choose one. Having actually liked the nickname Ropeman, I chose to translate it into German as Schnurmann, though that is technically “String man”. It stuck so well that I would turn homework in with the name instead of Bryon Lape. After graduating and moving back to the States though, the name was shelved for many years.
In the early 1990s, I was working at the Hodges Library when Ross Singer and Bob Patrick came across Lambda MOO. I applied for a character and named in Schnurmann with aliases such as Ropeman, Rope, and Schnur. As it was German, most mispronounced it and many asked me what it meant, so I eventually created a web page for it on the server with our personal pages.
I was Schnurmann again until one day Ann Langley called me Brainmuffin. This was her combination of how Southerns say Brian, the more common spelling of my first name Bryon, and Frank Zappa’s favorite word: muffin. This nickname stuck so instantly that I changed my MOO character’s name and co-workers would actually call me by it.
That was 20 years ago and I still use the nickname Brainmuffin. I use it on Twitter, MySpace, various forums, and Flickr. Over the years, a few impersonators have appeared, but there is only one Brainmuffin. I do thank Kevin and Ann for giving me good and lasting nicknames. I do hope I live up to them.