Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Witless Explaination

Here's a little story you may not have ever wanted or needed:

Over the years I've used the screen name, login, email address, and now ever the website "witlesslackey". I also use derivatives of "witlesslackey" (witlessfiction, witlessgraphics, witlessart, etc.) for many of my creative endeavors.

I've been asked several times of the years where "witlesslackey" comes from, so I figured I could put it here on my blog and lay it to rest forever.

Short answer?

William Shakespeare. That’s where it comes from.

Long answer?

From "Troilus and Cressida" by William Shakespeare, to be precise.

Okay... here's the long and boring tale...

Somewhere in late 1999 or early 2000 I was convinced by several key people in my life that I needed, if I was to survive as a normal human being, to have AOL Instant Messenger (or AIM).

When I began the sign up process for the service it asked me for a screen name. I don’t recall what sill combination of numbers and letters I used to make a silly acronym than only I understood. What I do remember was that no one ever got it, and that bothered me.

One evening, about a week later, I was sitting at my desk and flipping through the internet… as I too often do. While doing this I happened upon a set of instructions for online mad libs. It told me to take a book off the nearest shelf. As luck would have it there was one next to my head, and the closest book was “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare”.

The next step was to flip to a certain page number and count to a certain word. Counting off I got to this:

"Behold, distraction, frenzy and amazement,
Like witless antics, one another meet,
And all cry, Hector! Hector's dead! O Hector!"

Then the next instruction was to flip to another page number that it specified and count to a certain word. This time I got this:

"Hence, broker-lackey! ignomy and shame
Pursue thy life, and live aye with thy name!"

The instructions told me to put them together for a character name… so I did. And I liked it so much that I kept it long after that game. I made it my new AIM screen name, then my live-journal, my blog, my email, and nearly everything else.

There ya go… it may be dull, boring, or silly… but so what? That’s where the name "Witlesslackey" comes from.

-Dennis Sharpe
Aka the "Witlesslackey"

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