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The discovery process of internet identification.
July 22, 2004
1:02 a.m.
My new AIM screenname:


I like it. It's exactly my kind of clever self-referential schtick.

However, I realize the importance of an SN that can be easily traded around by simply saying it.

Here's the history: I started off as Pinball188, years and years ago. I got the nickname Pinball back in grade school, when the bullies hit us nerdy kids with backpacks. They eventually decided that they could play pinball with the nerds, and we did not fight back. I secretly enjoyed the attention. When it came time to make an AOL SN, I chose Pinball and let it assign me a five digit number -- Pinball18835 or something. I didn't really want a number, and I really didn't want a long number, so I settled on Pinball188.

Anyway, somewhen down the line, I picked up Nick Walaski. I think the situation was that I was at my friend's house, and my AOL account needed a password which I didn't have, and it was important that I contact somebody that night . . . I didn't want to explain the situation of who I was and everything. So I made up a new screenname that was MY NAME. I wasn't about to screw around with inventing a screenname that I liked and finding it was taken and everything . . . so I put in my very unique real name. Surprise, it wasn't taken. I went by Nick Walaski anytime I wasn't home. It worked pretty well.

In the meantime, I've created all kinds of IDs for things and places and such that I've always spent a great deal of time arguing with myself whether I'd be content with being known as ________. I've been witty_screenname, default-user, neon-tubing, and neon_seven. I've been relatively happy with all those nicknames and everything until about recently.

I'm very shy, and I don't know a great many people. So internet dating is . . . a useful tool. I started on one service as neon-tubing, and two others as variations on neon_seven. Now that I'm not using AOL anymore, all I had was Nick as an AIM SN . . . and while I'm not afraid of identity theft or anything . . . there's just something about a person's last name that you just save for later. I don't know why. I felt very uncomfortable -not- hiding my identity just a little.

So I sat at the computer screen, trying to come up with another AIM SN that would . . . fit me. I played off of witty_screenname and made UninspiredAIMSN. I liked it.

I liked it until I stopped liking it. It felt too cumbersome, too unwieldly. It felt too bland, too, without personality or even originality, to a certain extent. It's originality lay in the fact that I was admitting that it was a completely unoriginal name, which is exactly what I originally liked about it. But I was bored and you could tell. The impression that I always felt that I was giving with it was that I was trying too hard. Being pretentious, even. False modesty or something. It felt like I was saying something to the extent of "I come up with original ideas by admitting that I am unoriginal; this is the highest form of art." I imagined myself wearing all black with emo glasses and drinking coffee from a stereotypical white cup complete with tiny dish.

Plus it pissed me off that it couldn't be shortened to anything other than 'uninspired'. That really pissed me off.

So I wanted something more vague and sleek and less 'look how smart I be'. I made fourteenfortytwo later that week. I suppose I never gave fourteen a chance, though, and I never stuck with it. In the meantime, I had made a couple of friends with uninspired, and much as I hated the SN, I felt like now I kind of had to stay as uninspired.

Okay, yawn yawn, blah blah blah. What happened now?

Well, for a while, I decided that I didn't really want to go out with anyone. The internet dating stuff worked but didn't, and I wound up shooting myself in the foot because of stupid things. I was treating every girl I came across as a potential girlfriend rather than a potential friend, so I was very nervous and not casual at all and just very . . . black and white and no grayscale. I was constantly tripping over myself in trying to impress these girls, and I was never just letting things happen slowly. I was forcing the chemistry and . . . well, suffice to say that it didn't work very well.

So for a while I was all, "I'm not going to worry about this. I don't want to go out with anybody right now, and I just want to . . . relax about this." So I relaxed, and everything benefitted. I wasn't stressed out about it, and I'm absolutely positive that my aloofness was attractive for however long it was.

Then the other night I have a dream about every single girl I ever had a crush on. Being stuck in an elevator with one. Deep kissing another one in a phone booth. Driving two of them mad with jealousy over each other at the same time.

Dear god it was amazing.

And now today I felt like . . . "I do declare that I enjoy flirting. I simply must do it more often." Insert southern belle with handkerchief.

So I think I'm going back. I have my reasons and I'm being careful not to get all stupid about it this time.

But I still need a SN that is representative of my personality. Claire and I went through a significant number and settled on L057n7R4N5L4710N and also SmackMyBishop, which was taken. While I -like- L057, very very much, it's still not something you could really write down -or- type without a great deal of confusion and correction.

So I'm still in the creative process.

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