Another hell week draws to a close. Let us go prepare for the next hell week. Let’s relax with a shower, some Ritalin, a glass of whisky, and looking up our first names on Urban Dictionary.
For a lot of names, there’s a long list of definitions full of praise. And reading them is like taking a warm bath.
— Andy Baio (@waxpancake) April 14, 2017
Not everyone will get a compliment up top. Sorry, Brad. But even if the top few definitions are nasty, the first long one will probably be golden. (Skip down to definition 5, Brad.) The compliments might not all apply to you — they can be a bit heteronormative, for example — but it’s nice to think of all the people out there with your name, and all their friends who wanted to tell a website how awesome they are.
And I really believe it’s friends who wrote these — they don’t sound like someone calling themselves awesome. They sound like yearbook signatures or wedding toasts. They are expressions of love, and reading them (for your own name or for others’) lets you appreciate that love.
If you listen to Reply All all the way through, you’ll recognise this kind of thing from the hosts’ taglines at the end of the episode. During the credits, they always slip in a complimentary metaphor about Matt Lieber, co-founder of Reply All‘s publisher Gimlet Media. “Matt Lieber is a rope swing over a pond.” “Matt Lieber is a new puppy that finally sleeps through the night.” “Matt Lieber is a nap in a park.” There’s a whole site that collects these taglines.
You don’t have your own podcast hosts making up compliments for you, but you have Urban Dictionary. Soak in all that love, and appreciate how it buoyed to the surface of a site that mostly exists to explain drugs, insults, and mythical sex acts. A site that currently defines “No Nut November” on its front page. Your name, whatever it is, thawed even the cold heart of Urban Dictionary.