When 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@

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!?

siren-geekthen 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 and then 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.