Guest Blog Post – What’s in a name?

Lori Graham

Lori Graham

[Editor’s Note: Courtney Enlow is diligently working on her new Saved By the Bell fanfic, so today we bring you a special guest blog post by Lori Graham, a.k.a. Superfantastic.]

I heard once that the lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls had said that if he could change any one thing, it would be not having called the band the Goo Goo Dolls. I wouldn’t say that having saddled myself with the Internet moniker Superfantastic was my life’s biggest regret, but if I had it to do over again, I’d probably put a little more thought into it.

I wasn’t sure I’d keep blogging for very long, so it didn’t occur to me that it might be a long-term commitment. At the time, I had a blog on a free site, which seems mercifully to no longer be online. It was a serious blog on which I wrote serious essays, where by “serious” I mostly mean “overwrought”. It was dreadful.

It occurred to me that since what I was hoping to write for money someday was humor, that it made a lot more sense for me to have a blog that was humor-intensive. I spent a day or so trying to think of a title for my new blog. Then I sent an email, which included ironic use of the word “superfantastic”. I decided that this was an excellent sarcastic word. I checked Typepad and found that superfantastic was available, so I grabbed it. I hastily titled my new blog “How are you today? I’m superfantastic.” I don’t know why. I chose a template, slapped on a picture of me taken from very far away to lessen the chance of anybody recognizing me (I didn’t have my name on it back then) and started writing.

Soon after, it occurred to me that there were a lot of comments on the blogs I read from people named Lori and if I were going to try to build a following, it would be better to comment as something distinctive, something related to the blog. It did not immediately occur to me that commenting as Superfantastic may make people think twice about clicking through, assuming as they probably do, that they’ll find a site covered in puppies, rainbows and glitter.

Not only that, but it turned out that people reading my blog weren’t catching the sarcasm of the “I’m superfantastic” with a period and not an exclamation point. They thought I was literally saying that I was superfantastic, although how they reconciled that with the tone of my writing, I am not sure. I would have to be either quite egotistical or really very enthusiastic. I hope I don’t come off as either, although the first seems more likely than the second.

When I signed up for NaNoWriMo in 2006, I went ahead and used Superfantastic for my username since a couple of my blog friends were signing up as well and also I couldn’t think of anything else to call myself. Which left me, during the introductions portion of the NaNoWriMo kick off event, having to say, “I’m Lori and my screen name is Superfantastic.” I blushed, they laughed and then I never went to another event anyway. Which was far more related to being a giant chicken about social situations where I don’t know anyone than to the Superfantastic thing, but it didn’t help either.

By the time I finally caved and joined Twitter, there didn’t seem to be any point in fighting it. Although by then, I was perfectly aware that getting an email saying “Superfantastic is following you on Twitter” seemed unlikely to inspire the kind of people I found amusing to check out my profile. It turns out though that if you make with the funny on Twitter, people will follow, no matter what idiot name you stick yourself with. And having a long username makes it challenging for people to retweet you (particularly if you feel, as I do, that unused characters are going to waste and thus tend to use as many as possible) so there’s that. I like to pose a challenge.

I recall there having been some discussion last fall when I was looking for (and for quite some time not finding) a teaching job, about how someone called Superfantastic could stay unemployed. I thought it was perfectly fitting, given the tone with which I use it. “Oh, you loved me throughout the three hour interview, but hired from within, somebody you probably intended to hire before even posting the job. That’s outstanding. No, really, just superfantastic.”

The real low point for me was just last week when I attended my first ever Tweet Up. People would introduce themselves by Twitter username. Forcing me for the first time to have to come out and say, “I’m Superfantastic.” Particularly given that this was a group of people using Twitter primarily for business networking, it was a little humiliating. Like a hangover, the worst part being the knowledge that I have done this to myself.

I know I should just stand up and own it. It’s too late to change it, so I ought to embrace the ridiculousness that is calling myself by a made up hyperbolic compound adjective.

And it’s not all bad. It turns out that having a mundane phrase in your blog title will get you a fair amount of Google hits. I don’t know why anyone would Google “How are you?” but they do and they find me. Perhaps one or two has stuck around. Superfantastic is itself odd enough to still be available for things like Twitter, although someone already has it on Flickr, which is probably the number one reason why I haven’t signed up. After having been such a spectacular failure the first time, I don’t have much confidence in my ability to choose a fitting and non-embarrassing moniker.

The blog is now almost four years old and has my picture and full name slapped all over it. I finally got a real design, which has raindrops at the top, in an attempt to clue in new readers to the fully sarcastic use of superfantastic. Beyond that, there’s not much I can do, apart from keeping the rainbows, puppies and glitter to an absolute minimum. Which is, as it turns out, not at all a challenge for me.

So, Internet, if you’ll trust me not to blow sunshine up your ass, then I’ll do my very best to look you in the eye and not to mumble when I say it. How are you today? I’m superfantastic (period, no exclamation point).

Lori Graham is a writer and a teacher. She enjoys intelligent conversation, professional football, big government and the public library. You can follow her blog at:

  1. Joelle July 13, 2009
  2. Joel Murphy July 13, 2009

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