hi, my name is steve.Posted: December 15, 2008
Or, it isn’t. My name is actually Tim. Well, that’s a lie as well. Or, it could not be a lie.
The anonymity associated with the internet affords some sort of leniency on that whole identity thing. These could be the rantings of an over-stressed person that isn’t quite what the law calls an adult yet, or a hopeless romantic with nothing to do, or maybe a FBI agent stalking for predators in the most curious of ways. It could be all of the above; the unleashing of the mind of a hopeless romantic FBI agent that was recruited at a pre-pubescent age and is now in his somewhat later years, frazzled and stressed by the countless hours spent uncovering the crimes of the internet. His name, and therefore, possibly mine, could happen to be Steve. Or Tim. Or start with the letter A.
The following is called, “hi, my name is steve, or, an undercooked examination of nominal identity, or, musings on the nature of the name.”
One of the classes I take at those establishments people like to call schools involves the use of Adobe Photoshop. I, of course, being the social hermit, hopeless romantic, over-stressed FBI agent that I am (as we’ve previously established), have currently mastered most of the things being taught (Let’s regale in the nerdery for a bit). This leads me to have about an extra set of minutes to generally act like a pretentious jerk, or find ways through the various locks placed on the computers. People are often lost as they work. They look at my screen, and notice that the work is complete. People want their hand guided through the process of work. I’m often called upon to be the guiding hand. I’m also not much of the altruistic type. Without divulging much into the details of my inner persona or how much of a jackass I am at times, let’s continue. Aforementioned people need help, but are faced with a communication barrier; they know not of my name, only of what I can do. So, conversations ensue such as this one:
“Hey, uh, buddy.” The subject asks, trying to grab my attention. It is grabbed, but I don’t respond. They proceed to come up beside me.
“Hey, uh, could you help me out?” I oblige. Afterwards, they ask, “So, wait, what’s your name?”
“Oh, my name? It’s Tim.”
As such, I’ve managed to convince about a quarter of the people in said class that my name is Tim. It’s all the more fascinating when you factor in the fact that I keep an identification card somewhat visible. With this, I’ve come to the realization that the knowledge one carries will always trump their names; people care more about the message that you carry rather than who carries it. In this case, my name didn’t really matter, it only mattered that I knew what was going on, I knew something that they didn’t know and was willing to tell them. It can be argued that it’s why so many people tend to write under pseudonyms (like the writers on this blog), not only does it provide some sort of security from scrutiny, as in, they’re not attacking you verbally, they’re attacking your alter ego, but it also makes your message the focal point of attention, not who said it. Names create bias, bias could then be eliminated by eliminating the name.
I have a friend that I sometimes call Steve even though his name is something else, and I have another friend that I occasionally call Sarah even though her name is something completely different.
This bleeds into another discussion as to that whole “what’s inside is what counts” thing, but that will probably be talked about at another time. As well as another possible elaboration on this topic.
I know their “actual” names perfectly well, if you were wondering.