What’s in a Name?

My go-to internet handle — haprima — has been a source of confusion for both friends and strangers alike.

“Is that a pun from your cousins? Like, ‘ha, I’m a prima!’ or something?”

“How do you pronounce that?”

“What’s it supposed to mean?”

And really, the birth of the name was nothing special.

It was December of 2014, my senior year of high school, and I was spending almost all of my winter break in the NICU of a desert hospital that was nearly 30 miles away from my parents’ house. My baby brother, a startlingly small 3.4 pound baby had been born on the 29th. A last-minute, small, and fragile addition to a family treading a dangerous line, close to falling apart.

My other younger brother and I would spend hours at a time in the NICU lobby as our parents took turns checking on the little peanut. Sometimes we’d bring books to read. Other times we’d half-watch whatever terrible show was playing on the tv’s while eavesdropping on the terrible conversations that were going on around us. But usually, we’d just play video games.

I’ve been a hardcore fan of the Persona series. Never mind that I started with Persona 3 and eventually worked myself back to its predecessors, as well as forward to the games that came after it.

During that particular winter, I had picked up Persona 2: Innocent Sin. It was an interesting experience, going back to the gameplay and combat style of that game after spending so long with Persona 3, which was relatively simple in comparison. All of the status ailments, the different elements that I’d never encountered before.

Given the intensity of the desert winter and my state of mind as I was trapped in the hospital for what felt like forever, there was something that drew me to the idea of “happiness” as a status ailment. Being so happy that a character was rendered unable to act in a battle?

Nothing revolutionary as a concept in combat. But an incredible idea to an intensely depressed seventeen-year-old.

The spell that caused the ailment was called “hapirma.” I decided then that I would take on the name, perhaps in an ironic turn, or maybe because I thought taking it on might lead me to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But given my propensity to misunderstand and mispronounce things that I read too quickly, I bastardized it into “haprima.” And it’s stuck since then.

There have been a few cases of mistaken identity — someone on Twitter is @hapirma, and I once had someone mistake me for Gerome on Tumblr as a result. But otherwise, I’m content to keep the name. It’s more me than anything else I could come up with now.

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