What’s In A Name?


by Karen Topakian

This headline in the Providence Journal, “Medical examiner confirms body was that of ‘Joe Onions,’” may not mean much to you if you never lived in RI. But to those of us who did and still do, it reminds us of the state’s colorful mafia history.

I’m not referring to the location of the body but the name of the victim. Joe ‘Onions’ Scanlon. I bet he got this nickname because Scanlon sounded like scallion and these folks aren’t known for their educational pedigrees. Maybe it was because he loved onion sandwiches. Or because he didn’t.

According to Wikipedia, a nickname is a descriptive name given in place of, or in addition, to the official name of a person, place or thing. I would say these favorite mafia nicknames of mine meet the test. 

Tommy ‘3 Fingers’ Brown

Ronnie  ‘Balloon Head’ deAngelis  

Salvatore ‘Sally Fruits’  Farrugia

Angelo ‘Spastic Colon’ Gasdrulli

And everyone’s favorite, Sammy ‘the Bull’ Gravano

The mafia deserves a lot of credit for donning their dons with rich nomenclature.

If you’re wondering what your Mafia name might be test out this website: http://pages.prodigy.net/mlemus/mobnamegenerator.htm. Mine comes up as The Harpoon.

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