Mission: M’alliteration

mais oui mon ami

It’s a rite of passage: on the very first day of college, all incoming freshmen must play the name game with their new hallmates.

It is very stressful to choose an adjective for the name game when your name begins with an M. First of all, as anyone who has ever read any Arthurian literature knows, the letter M is almost always a marker of an utterly rotten human being. Morgan le Fay, Mordred—even the much-loved Merlin is terribly ambiguous in the old stories. The root word “mal,” meaning bad, creates such charming words as malevolent, malicious, malignant, maleficent, malcontent, maladroit, etc., none of which I could use, obviously. Melancholy, miserable, morose? There’s a girl you want to hang out with. Moderate, memorable, mild-mannered? Social suicide! Mundane! Mediocre! Isn’t this fun?

Cramped in a little classroom on the third floor of the modern languages building, the name game raged…

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