by any other name

This morning, I received a pro-Obama (or prObama) email from [Redacted] Johnson; this email was written in the blandly pleasant boilerplate common to personal forwards, and included a link to, where one may register to get updates on the transition from candidate to President.

My coffee- and insomnia-addled brain went through a surprisingly complex two-second series of reactions upon seeing it:

1. Obama! Squeeeee!
2. “[Redacted] Johnson”? Why would Mr. The Rock* be sending me email? Oh, wait…
3. “[Redacted] Johnson” — feh, that’s a spamnonymous name if ever there was.
4. Oh, [Redacted]!

Yeah, it turns out that I not only know [Redacted] Johnson from the online communities we both frequent, but I’ve spent at least one pleasant evening in the company of [Redacted] and his lovely partner, eating gelato and wandering the streets of my town, during which they made me laugh until I feared for both my gelato and my sinuses. I don’t forget people like that.

The thing is, though I know his name (which, duh, is [Redacted] Johnson), apparently I filed him in my brain only under his user name (which, duh, is not).

I guess it’s not that surprising, given the text-only basis of so many of these relationships, that I would conceive of people only as their user names, even when I know and use their proper names, too: I think of [xxx] as Jag, of my childhood friend [xxx] as Elli, of my brother [xxx] as sgazzetti.

What is a little weird: I’m starting to think of myself as Elsa.

*”Mr. The Rock” is Dwayne Johnson’s courtesy title chez nous. You wouldn’t think Mr. The Rock would come up often enough in everyday conversation to merit a formal household honorific, but then you don’t spend a lotta time ’round here, do you?


One thought on “by any other name

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