Journey with me for a moment back to 1994. That may be hard if you hadn’t been born yet, but don’t worry too much about the setting. It was a different time and the only reason for the journey is to meet little 12-year-old Josh Mosey.
I was an awkward 12-year-old, which is to say that I was more or less like all 12-year-olds since the dawn of time. I had just hit my growth spurt, my voice had dropped, hair was coming to harvest in previously barren fields, and to make matters worse, I had been introduced to the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien.
I devoured the Hobbit and started the Lord of the Rings with glee. Though I didn’t get past the middle of The Two Towers (what 12-year-old can make it past the Dead Marshes before questioning their own journey to Mordor?), I was indelibly struck by the lore and the world of Middle Earth, as well as by the artist who brought them into existence.
I’ll claim here that my love of Tolkien was the genesis for what followed. You see, Tolkien had a unique signature. Or maybe not signature, but it was a symbol that used his initials and was stamped on all of his works. I started thinking about that unique symbol and decided to steal the idea. The only difference was that I wanted a symbol that used all of the letters of my name.
And so I started playing around with linking letters in new ways. I would overlap some and change the orientation of others. And after a lot of dorky trial and error, I had something that I liked. And I used it.
I remember putting the symbol on all of my school assignments–usually right next to my written name, but sometimes in place of it. I enjoyed explaining to people how each letter was crammed into the symbol. I thought I was very clever.
And then, at some point around age 14, I stopped using it. Someone accused me of being what I was, a nerd. The symbol had to go. I haven’t really used it since. Sad? Maybe, but even Prince returned to his name after being represented by a symbol. At least I’m in good company.
Now a test: Can you figure out my middle name by looking only at the symbol? Write your guess in the comments and I’ll reveal how the symbol breaks down into individual letters in a later post.