Wherefrom the Handle “Jorm”
I was twice asked today about the origin of my online handle, “jorm.” So let’s go ahead and answer that.
The simplest answer is that “jorm” is short for “Jormungandr.”
Way back in 1994, I signed up at a cafe Bulletin Board System called “SF Net”. It required a handle, or user name, and I used the first term that came to mind: “Jormungandr”.
(“Jorm” is pronounced with a hard “J” [JORM], while “Jormungander” is pronounced soft [YOR-mun-gan-DER].)
At the time, I was fresh out of philosophy school and thinking a great deal about self-referential terminology and concepts. Things that are defined by being themselves, as it were. My favorite metaphor to describe this was (and still is) the Ouroboros – a snake that eats its own tail. It became a “thing” for me.
So when I had to pick a handle for this bulletin board system, I picked “Jormungandr”, which is an oroboros like snake that wraps around the entire earth. The “Midgaard Serpent.” When he moves, it causes earthquakes. At the time of Ragnarok – armageddon – the thunder god, Thor will fight Jormundandr and they will kill each other. It’s a wonderful symmetry.
After a while I went onto IRC. At the time, IRC had a limit as to how long your “nickname” could be. I couldn’t use “JORMUNGANDR” because it was too long. Everyone always shortened it to “jorm” anyway – both online and in person – so I picked that. It stuck. So it goes.
Now you know. And knowing is half the battle!
(Spoiler: the “other half of the battle” is “killing people.”)