We All Need Space, Especially Al.

Long ago, I realized that for men named Lou, the only possible nickname is Big Lou. Big and Lou just fit together. They bring a certain toughness and a particular image when they are combined. Lou is just a guy. Big Lou is someone you don’t fool with. Lou has a few friends. Big Lou, he has people, if you know what I’m saying.

Big Al Anderson played guitar for the great rock band NRBQ. He has nothing to do with this post beyond being a Big Al.
(image by Ronzoni CC BY-SA 3.0)

The same goes for Al. Imagine someone named Al. Now imagine someone who goes by Big Al. Is that person in your mind some weedy little guy, or does he look like a guy who makes offers you can’t refuse?

Now there are certain things we must realize about the Big Al/Big Lou nickname thing –

  • Big only works with Al or Lou. Big Bill, Big Kenny and Big Phillip, don’t really work. It just sounds like someone who is trying far too hard.
  • It doesn’t matter if the Lou or Al bearing the nickname is actually big. In fact if the gentleman in question is not particularly large in stature, the big moniker adds a twist of humorous irony.
  • As with any nickname, it is never acceptable for a person to choose this nickname for themselves.

There is one other important thing that applies to men named Al. It also indicates how important proofreading is, perhaps even having someone else proofread for you. Here is that thing:

When you are Big Al and you order a personalized license plate for your car you should consider how critical spacing is. I’d never considered how a missing space could confuse a message until I saw the license plate for a gentlemen named Al. Al was a proud Big Al, so proud that he ordered a license plate to let everyone know he was Big Al. The tag said –


Al’s message was a lot more ambiguous than he intended. It could be read Big Al. It could be read Bi Gal. Al made a simple mistake. He did not value giving a little space and that bit him.

We all need space now and again. Some, like Al, don’t know they need it. But we should all remember that when words and people don’t have the space they need, it leads to misunderstandings.


30 Comments on “We All Need Space, Especially Al.”

  1. I did not think I was going to get any laughs this morning. Thank you. I’m glad I wasn’t drinking my coffee. Poor Big Al. I’d be giving him a lot of space now.

  2. Blogdramedy says:

    Yeah…you have to be careful. Especially if your full given name is Richard. Big Dick will only go far in the porn industry.

  3. Debbie says:

    I don’t know, but I think if I were a man of any size with a definitely feminine name (something like Shirley or Gale or Terry), I might want the “Big” to preface it. Might waylay a lot of fisticuffs, ya know!

    • omawarisan says:

      You might want, but it can only be properly applied to Lou or Al.

      Now that you mention ambiguous names, most of the men I’ve known who were so named were treated with an empathetic respect.

  4. Space is so key. Nothing much good comes out crowding letters, people, or pets. I’ve known a Big Al and a Big Lou. One was a police chief and the other one was a chef.

  5. Linda Sand says:

    Spaces are critical. Did you see the message about Thatcher dying that said, “nowthatchersdead”? Many read that as “Now that Cher’s dead” and went into panic mode.

  6. I don’t if this is a re-run or if it’s just a frequent side-effect of reading your posts that initiates a mysterious craving for RC Cola and moon pies.

  7. A few years ago here in the Delaware Valley, there was a carpet merchant who went by the moniker “Big Al”. Anyone with a radio or TV could tell you that according to the commercials, Big Al really does sell quality carpet and remnants cheaper. It was an awful commercial and made almost everyone want to pay more for their carpets and remnants just to keep from giving Big Al any money. For the record, in these here parts, “Big Tony” is also known in some quarters as “Ant” – which seems kind of contradictory to me.

  8. We Found Him Captain! says:

    You are one funny guy! I always enjoy your Blurts.
    Big Sally.

  9. benzeknees says:

    I thought the license plate read BIG GAL – I don’t think Big Al would have liked this either!

  10. Appropriate because when I hear “Big Al”, I can’t help but think of Big Gay Al.

  11. Bryan says:

    Ya know, when you have more free time next year, I think it might help my Blurt Blog IPO retirement fund if you also had a blog about Wikipedia. I think there is a need for a tour guide. We could gather at 8:30 outside of the hotel (all wearing the same t-shirt) and you could meet us and introduce us to the bus driver as you take us to all the interesting corners and main streets of Wikipedia. I’m sorry about being off topic, but your Wiki references are impressive.

  12. planetross says:

    I’ll have to keep that space thing on my mind so I don’t have a license plate reading “BIGROSS” … because that would be gross to both men and women.

  13. […] Just be careful when you go for the personalized license plate.  We All Need Space, Especially Al. […]

  14. […] We All Need Space, Especially Al. ( […]

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