Against 'Alan'

by Matthew J.X. Malady

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, writer Alan Hanson tells us more about why the name Alan is terrible.

my dad is getting mad at me for shitting on his middle name

— Swizz Keats (@iluvbutts247) June 9, 2014

Alan! So what happened here?

I was on my lunch break and texting my dad when that thought crossed my mind, definitely not for the first time. My dad’s name is Kirby Alan Hanson, so that’s where my name comes from, and I’m pretty sure there isn’t any deeper connection to anything else. Growing up, I thought it was pretty great that my dad’s name was Kirby. I still do. I’m not really sure why, but it’s more unique than most names and sounds pretty cool to me. “Alan” has always paled in comparison. It’s a fine middle name. Which kind of speaks to its lackluster quality. Also, maybe this is some delusion of mine, but it seems it’s easier to get published the more interesting sounding your name is.

How exactly *is* Alan lame?

It just feels so boring to me. Like I said in the text, a step-dad name. It’s a first and last name, it doesn’t have any strong consonants or phonetically pleasing qualities, it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s completely workmanlike without any edge.

I remember meeting a friend of my grandfather’s when I was younger, and it was the first time I’d met another Alan. He was a 50-year-old version of Kip from Napoleon Dynamite. I immediately disliked his vibe and associated it with the name. Alan Parrish from Jumanji? Dweeb lord.

The shortened version of it is Al, which is just one of the most godawful nicknames of all time, unless you’re a character on Happy Days.

Lesson learned (if any)?

My father is still awfully proud of his decision to name me Alan Michael Hanson, a collection of heritage-less white-people designations, and he assumes I am high on the reg.

Just one more thing.

People I haven’t spoken to in years love to post that stupid-ass video of a prairie dog saying “Alan” over and over again on my Facebook wall.

Matthew J.X. Malady is a writer and editor in New York.