It's been said that "name is destiny." It's also been said that "anagrams never lie."
What exactly is an anagram? It is a recombination of the letters in a word, name or phrase to spell a new one. The kind of folks who do the New York Times Crossword in ink with no external help used to do these with pen and paper. Now we have computer power for the same purpose.
The reasons for exploring anagrams are manifold, but to focus on two:
* they provide unexpected insights into character through names
* they are an excellent way to put off writing tasks after you have cleaned all your paperclips and recategorized your personal library by ISBNs.
For example, my name anagrams into a number of promising (and always true) phrases such as "Hung John Too." Unless, of course, this refers to the sad fate of my cattle-rustlin' great-grandad. (The very word "anagrams" recalls his wife, known as "Gas Ma Ran" because she fled her burning service station for no apparent reason.) Of course, because sex is more fun than writing, my destiny is "Hung Oh Jot No," so too much nookie means no new bookie. But you could console me and redirect my energies: "Hug John Not To."
But seriously folks, don't take just my name in vain. Consider Canada's notoriously repressed and repressive Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. I've always wondered about his secret life (after all, with an earlier and similar PM named King, it turned out he talked to ghosts with his Ouija board and relied on his dog for political advice). Hidden inside that oh-so-bland name are some surprises: "Panther Herpes" is my fave, but some political writers have found him to be a "Harsher Pen Pet" and, if we think of him as a body part, it is "Perhaps Nether."
Of course, anagrams, being unbiased, also reveal secrets about celebs who we may have thought have already aired all possible body parts and dirty laundry. Take Lindsay Lohan... please, take her .. for she is secretly "Shady Lanolin", and an hour of that treatment is sure to be a "Hosanna Idyll." Of course, you'd want her wearing her "Dahlia Nylons."
Last but not least: in the interests of fairness, I'll anagrammatize a politician I actually (kind of) still like, Barack Obama. Of course, the politicians not ru(i)nning your own country are usually more likable than those who are. Anyway, Mr. Obama is something of a menagerie, if we credit "Baa Crab Amok" as a valid reflection of his tactics. Perhaps he is secretly a "Maraca Kabob" diner who likes to kick back now and then with a cool "Baa Ram Bock"?
I don't wish to pimp a specific anagram generator, but there are many available on-line. Go ahead: Waste Your Day. I did.
Causes John Oughton Supports
PEN International, Amnesty International, League of Canadian Poets, POR AMOR, Greenpeace