hen i was in kindergarten i got in trouble for correcting my teacher who claimed to us that we celebrated columbus day because he was the first man to sail around the world. i stomped my lil lacey socked foot and, hand on hip, said that "no, it was ferdinand magellan".
years later when i was a camp counselor they didn't want us to use our real names so i chose "magellan" for those summers. my parents found this hilarious as i didn't recall telling off my teacher...
my last year of high school i was vaguely exposed to the "web" and i had a vague concept of what "email" might be.
but then i arrived fresh and wonderous to mills college. when i would be typing papers in the mac labs laughter would errupt and then frantic furious click-e-tys would come from a single girl at a station.
occasionally i tried to be sly and sneak a peak but they were clever and moved in front of their screens, eyeing me suspiciously. when school started i cornered one of them and made her show me what those pages of text were scrolling up her screen. she said "icb, DUH!" then handed me a green sheet from the table next to her. "get an ella account" it read, "4-8 caracters for login". uh... what's a character?
the only thing i could think of was "magellan" and so i was magellan@ mills.edu.
but then. then i got into icb to talk to other millsies. and these strangers kept popping up in *'s asking me how i was doing and what was i wearing!!!?? and they all knew i was a girl!
finally salguod pointed out that having a mills address pretty much guranteed that knowledge was public! but how was i supposed to know EVERYONE could see my address!?
then banshee graciously offered me an abattoir account. i didn't want to be magellan again because it was known in the icb ether... i wracked my brain trying to think of something 4-8 letters long. then banshee called me a dumbass and said it could be as long or as short as i wanted.
so i chose what everyone else called me. "mo".
one night in high school we were sitting around watching the simpsons and it was the aerosmith episode where homer makes a drink and sets it on fire. at the time my hair was the red of a stop sign ( a botched dye job i grew to enjoy ). at the time my friend kara's daughter kaja (rhymes with hi-yah!) wasn't really talking and it was a point of much concern. at then end of the show kaja stands up and stares at me. she points and says "it's a flaming moe".
so after much rolling on the floor and praise for miss kaja my friends started calling me that. i don't know where the "e" got left off. it's not written with one in any of my yearbooks.
so firstname.lastname@example.org and then email@example.com was perfectly gender neutral (no more requests to be let into the dorms! no more "can i have your panties?") and in fact when used in email everyone assumes i'm male. When corrected folks then assume my name is maurine. i enjoy this little secret.
all my friends know my real name even though no one has ever used it.