I like to name things.
When I was a lad playing Dungeons & Dragons, my favorite part of creating a character was coming up with my player’s name. Forget about rolling dice for strength and charisma, I wanted my hero to have a unique and clever moniker.
As a current player of the video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, my favorite part of creating a character is still coming up with the name.
When I am feeling in a particularly jaunty mood, I like to name things around a theme. With my recent crop of Skyrim characters I have named them with the following convention: the first name comes from Shakespeare and the last name is an African capital city. Over the past year, I have played as the Nord warrior Laertes Rabat and as the Redguard rouge Iago Khartoum.
When I am feeling in an extremely jocular mood, I like to name an item with both a reference and a pun.
This is one such story.
In the latter part of the last decade, I was a competitive player of the Pokemon trading card game.
Now, as much as I would like to say that I only played the game because I had two young sons who loved this game and I was only participating in this childish activity so that they and I could have some father-son bonding time, such a statement would be an alternative fact. In truth, I learned how to play them game and then taught it to my boys.
A card game of Pokemon consists of two players dueling each other and each player has a deck of sixty cards. During a season, there are certain decks that become more popular as players learn through experience that these decks are more powerful. The popular (and powerful) decks change from year to year as new cards are added each season and certain cards are retired.
These decks that become popular are given names so that other players can identify them and reference them. Usually, these names are combinations of the important cards in the deck (such as Gardellade), is based off the deck’s most important attack (such as Night March), or is a clever riff (such as Taste the Rainbow).
When I created my first unique deck, the best part for me wasn’t play testing it for its effectiveness, but it was coming up with its signature name.
The cards that I used to battle with had two main attackers. The first was Gallade and the second was Dusknoir.
So, when it came time to christen my deck with a proper name, I used the method of creating a portmanteau from the two main attackers.
Thus was born my deck called Gal-Noir.
Of course, my name had a second referential meaning. I am a fan of National Public Radio’s Prairie Home Companion. One of the recurring skits on that show was a spoof on the classic detective story in the style of Sam Spade of Mike Hammer.
The detective and main character of that skit was a gentleman named Guy Noir.
Don’t groan at that horrific pun. You’ll only encourage me.
That’s my story.
P.S. For the names of some of my other pun-worthy decks…well, those are tales for another day.