The reasons I chose Shimoniac Jones as my pseudonym are multiple and various. My father chose as a pseudonym the name Archon; this was back in the days of CB radios when no one was known by their real names. For those of you younger than 30 or 35 who don’t know what a CB is, wiki it. So, as I grew, I wanted a cool nom de guerre. I started with Archon Jr., Archon II, etc; but I wasn’t satisfied with that. I wanted something that was mine and cool. I read, a lot, and I tried adopting some of the names and concepts from books that I particularly liked.
None of them worked. None were what I considered me.
So, there I was, without a nom de plume that I liked. I worked/volunteered at a community radio station back in the late ‘80s and we received music tapes from various sources, from people hopeful that we would put them on the air, make them famous. This was wayyy before YouTube, Justin Bieber, and PSY. One of the tapes we got was from the Canadian radio station CFNY, which is located in Toronto. CFNY was, and maybe still, is an alternative music broadcaster that specialized in breaking out new acts and artists; perhaps one of their most successful successes is the group Barenaked Ladies.
The station I worked at received from them a cassette tape called Modern Music 1990, after listening to it a few times and playing it on the station, the music director asked me if I wanted it. I’m always interested in free things, so I said yes. The tape included probably the earliest recorded version of the aforementioned Barenaked Ladies’, `Be My Yoko Ono’. However, aside from that, there was a Band called Electronic Dream Factory, and they had a song called, `So, What of Tomorrow?’. In the song, as a chorus, are listed various sinners which can be condemned to Hell. Most of the sins mentioned were ones whose definitions were ones that I already knew; so I went to a dictionary and looked up the definitions to the ones I didn’t. You’ve guessed it; one sinner mentioned was `simoniac’, another was `barrator’.
A Barrator is one who is always at odds with others; a disturber of the peace. That wasn’t me, the other one, however, was interesting and interested me. Simony is the buying and selling of ecumenical offices, preferments, benefices, emoluments, etc. That appealed to the junior iconoclast in me.
You may have noticed that I’ve added an `h’ to the word; if you didn’t, don’t worry. I added that `h’ because I was interested in history and wanted to invoke the old Hebraic pronunciation of the name. Scroll forward a few years to the invention of the Internet and the development of message boards. Then, as now, probably 99.9% of posters used some sort of nom de plume, showing their interests, history, or whatever. Some message boards wanted people to use their first and last names.
My own natural surname is Smith, but I didn’t want to use anything that was actually mine, so I added `Jones’ as a surname; Jones being the second-most common English-language surname. When I go anonymous, I really go anonymous.
So, there you have it. That’s the origin of another random, anonymous blogger’s name on the Internet. Aren’t you glad you asked?