I was writing a long post about how i got my login when my network connection died.

i tried writing it again, and the connection died again.

i spent the better part of a week dealing with my fritzed out airport and confirming that my DSL connection is fine.

so, a short story instead.

Gretchen is the name tiffany and dan gave me one day when i wasn't in biology class in high school.

there is, obviously, more to the story,

since there is, and was, no reason why i should have chosen to take the name a pipsquak 9th grader (dan) and a flirtatious 10th grader (tiffany) gave me, an important 11th grader when they were playing the "what name does that person look like?" game in class. this class was my personal torture.. for reasons i don't really remember, i took one semester of biology in 10th grade and didn't finish. so i had to take it again in 11th grade. and that same year our campus started admitting 9th graders. it was humiliating.

but somehow i endured the class and the classroom. it was a zoo. the teacher never insisted on any discipline and people gossiped and threw paper airplanes while the teacher droned up front. she was a very niced teacher, i found, and very helpful to anyone who actually wanted to learn something, she just didn't go for classroom discipline.

on the other side of our classroom sat todd and his gang of uber-popular 10th graders. this meant very little to me, being an 11th grader, butthey were generally noisy and self important. since, from my spot near the back of the classroom, i occasionally asked the teacher questions and talked about, gasp, biology, i and my corner came in for a bit of heckling on a regular basis. and, as i said before, tiffany was both cute and a class A flirt, so she and todd could get going with some pretty entertaining banter.

the result of this, of course, is that the whole classroom knew about the alternate names tiffany and dan (our trusty sidekick) had come up with. "Gretchen!" they cried when i returned the next day (i'd probably been at a swim meet). i was understandably confused until tiffany explained to me. and i was not exactly flattered, but, whatever. todd, however, thought this was great. "gggrretchen" he'd call in a throaty growl when he wanted to get my attention. whatever.

the following year saw me in the same classroom, with much the same cast of characters, taking chemistry. tiffany, the flirt, was on an exchange program in the netherlands, but i still had dan. and todd. without tiffany and her witty comebacks, i kept a much lower profile in class, but todd enjoyed heckling me more than ever. he had taken to calling "grrreetchen" when he saw me in the halls, to the confusion of most passersby and his cool freinds. i ignored him, as i always had, but... what was this about? and after another year, the gawky 15 year olds were turning into rather good looking 16 year olds, so...

on one memorable occasion, todd and his band were roaming the calls during class and he spotted me in french class. "grretchen" he growled as he passed by. m. watts went into a panic, he was so furious at the disruption. the class was giggling, but, of course, no one knew it was *me*. if m. watts looked like he'd give detention to anyone he could lay his hands on as the culprit. *sigh*

towards the end of the school year i was working very hard in my chemistry class. i'd done very poorly the first semester and i was in a panic about my contingent college acceptances. i remember that the chemistry class had added one other person from my year to the class, christina the goth. she found the sparring between todd and i all year pretty amusing. but at some point with only a few weeks of class left, todd went too far. i'd had enough, i was busy, i was working, and he just wouldn't leave me alone. i'd sussed what the trouble was, but i wasn't prepared for baby games. in the middle of class i got up, walked down my aisle, past christina (and the teacher, but that is no matter since no one ever listened to her but me) and marched over to where todd sat. he stood up when i got there prepared for something. i looked him in the eye and i said, "kiss me".

this is not what anyone was expecting, i think. todd was dumbstruck and his coterie were shocked (in this class his crowd was mostly fawning girls). eventually todd's expression muted into panic, a sort of here, now? look that i recognized later. i said, "either kiss me or shut up." todd finally sat down and said something subdued and snide and i glared at him, then marched back to my seat. christina was staring at me and almost applauding. todd never harassed me again.

the silly thing, of course, is that if i hadn't been right, it wouldn't have worked. and i did sort of miss "grreetchen" in the halls the last couple of weeks of the year, but what could i do?

so, four months later i found myself looking at a form calling for a "login" name, some name by which i would be known, and i didn't want to use my real name. a stupid 7 charater limit made me drop the "t" and i've been grechen to my freinds ever since.


i guess i did tell the whole story after all. :)