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Technoschizophrenia, posted by Derek

I know, it’s not entirely new.  But I’m still occasionally surprised to realize how odd it is that I can freely refer to my wife and daughter by multiple names.  Specifically, by their online handles.

Names certainly have a power – ancient peoples knew it, and then we forgot it, and now, it’s back with a vengeance.  Your name is a portal to who you are, ad the panoply of things that exist about you on them there interwebs.  Hell, when I registered myself on this blog, I set myself up reflexively with a nick.  Then I noticed everyone else had their names, and got to thinking about it, and became Derek.

My wife and I play Team Fortress 2.  A lot.  Say, every day.  And while we play, we can both easily refer to each other by our nicks without any real issues (okay, I lie a bit.  My wife referred to me as Derek last week in a Left4Dead game.  I had an instinctual reaction of fear and annoyance.  Then I realized we were playing with a sum total of four people, two of whom were us.  The other two were people we play games with just about every night.  And it was entirely unlikely that, two days later, they would even remember my name.  But I still had the reaction.

I know that this is pretty common for “the young people today.”  But for me, it’s still an odd little piece of life.  At one point, my daughter continued to refer to me as “Cat” for a day or two after every time we played together.

And back in the olden days, it was more pronounced.  My online self was like me, but not entirely. I made an effort to stand out, so I adopted verbal tics, personality quirks (I referred to people by odd nicknames.  Not things like ‘fuzzy nose’ but just things you wouldn’t normally pick.  Michael would be Chae, rather than Mike.  Elizabeth might be Zab.  William would be Illi.  Etc).  I would occasionally even go so far as to espouse opinions I wasn’t entirely sure I believed in, or understood, in order to stand out more.

Now?  Who the hell cares?  I”m good with who I am.  I’m a sarcastic geek who is rarely serious (which annoys my wife to no end), and I’ve sort of given up on worrying about what people think about me, because I’m pretty well happy with who I am, and pretty well busy getting on with my life, despite what random ‘net idiots might think.

I like it a lot better now.  I’m not as interesting, but it’s a lot less work.