The Name Game

Some Muslim friends of mine seem to get offended when I occasionally go by Mo and not Mohamed. They think that it’s because I’m embarrassed to be Muslim, which is completely untrue. I’m always very up front about my beliefs but there are a few reasons that I sometimes use the nickname. The first is that the name Mohamed is probably the most religious name in Islam, which is a lot of pressure for someone like me that’s only semi-religious. The only more ironic naming than a semi-religious Mohamed is every Latin gang-banger named Jesus. And at least a gang-banger named Jesus could lean into it.

Look esé you don’t pay me I’m going to have to have to send you to my namesake Jesus Cristo 1

But there’s no way I can lean into mine. Just imagine a Mohamed trying to kick game without cringing. It’s impossible.

Excuse me miss, do you believe in the hereafter? Well I saw you from across the room and now you know what I’m here after.

The other reason I sometimes use Mo online is because while I’m definitely not embarrassed about where I come from, I am 100% embarrassed about the fact that I share a name with some complete douches. If you google my name – Mohamed Osman – two of the top three results are pretty horrible! The first – and this is 100% true – is a middle aged Sudanese bodybuilder. Like this dude is at least 35 years old which I think we can all agree is way too old to be posting pictures of yourself in your undies and lathered up in oil. 2 The second most famous Mohamed Osman according to google is a guy who’s well known for a darker reason. This Mohamed Osman was a terrorist. And not only was he a terrorist, he was literally the worst kind of terrorist. A failed terrorist. 3 Mohamed Osman Mohamud planned on blowing up a Christmas tree lighting which is really bad for obvious reasons but also because it kind of sounds like he just ripped off Die Hard. But I guess terrorists ain’t big on originality. I feel like if he did watch Die Hard he was definitely rooting for Han:

Non-Terrorist: Hey what do you think about Die Hard?

Terrorist: Great movie very sad though.

Non-Terrorist: Oh yeah that part where he tells his wife he loves her.

Terrorist: Yes and he didn’t even get to finish the job at the end.

Non-Terrorist: Wait…are you talking about Hans?

The worst part is that now that I know what comes up when you google Mohamed Osman I can’t even get mad anymore when I get “randomly selected” at airports. Because I know the security agent thinks I could potentially be a) an escaped terrorist from prison or b) a thirty something Muslim bodybuilder, which let’s face it sounds like someone one divorce away from being a potential terrorist. So there’s a lot of baggage with my full birth name and almost no downside to occasionally using Mo. 4

  1. Or something else equally intimidating
  2. And every single one of his photos is the exact same – picture perfect bodybuilder pose from the neck down but from the neck up it’s just the sad look of a guy that knows that he’s going through the world’s most time consuming midlife crisis. It’s all in the eyes.
  3. Completely kidding, please don’t judge me by this horrible joke.
  4. Alright, I lied. There’s one downside. Sometimes when I’m signing up for usernames online, my name looks like one word. So instead of Mo Osman it looks like Moosman which just sounds like a terrible Canadian superhero. Is it a deer? is it a bison? No, it’s Moosman!