When I first hit the world of online chatting, I started with the basics: my initials. cpk was taken so I added 44, even though I was not born in ’44, did not graduate in ’44, am not 44. The only reason was I like the number 4. I thought it was perfect because not only did it represent my name but also California Pizza Kitchen, which was an awesome restaurant. Once I started building up my buddy list, however, I found out how uncool simple was so I progressed to:
One of the popular girls I thought was cool had the screen name xpinkbubblegumx so I decided to steal her idea and put an original spin on it in the hopes that she would initiate me into her way of life. I figured the double x’s as well as the mix of lower case and capital letters made us different enough and I settled on Pop Rocks because it was the only two word candy I could think of that seemed preppy. I actually hate Pop Rocks, because they’re disgusting and I’m scared of the fizzing, but at the time it seemed perfect, until I realized how hard it was to type all those x’s when I signed in.
In what I hoped was an edgy show of blatant egoism I changed my SN to ‘coolioest’ for all of a month. Not coolest. Coolio-est. It had the benefits of annoying slang, made up words, and false confidence. After a couple weeks, my self-conscious tween self got uncomfortable with that level of self-promotion and changed to the much more humble:
Perfect, right? I mean, I love chocolate kisses and I’m a girl, plus the 911 was a combination of a cry for help and a rebellious, pre-teenage ‘fuck the police.’ Also, it was flirty (cause of the word ‘kiss’) and it let the people I was talking to know I was a girl, in case they were in any doubt. And I was showing how peppy and excited I was with the CAPITAL KISSES.
The lack of capital letters in this one showed my lack of self-importance, as well as my loneliness and longing for affection. This screen name was supposed to show the world that, while I shunned their IMs with an away message, I really wanted them to break through the wall and reach out to me. This was the period where I listened to a lot of Simple Plan and lurked online in invisible mode, waiting for my crush to sign in.
This was my screenname for all of two hours, which was the length of my relationship with ‘Johnny,’ my first boyfriend. The affair began and ended on AIM and I was heartbroken when he ended things because he wasn’t over his last gf. It was especially awkward because in those two hours I had managed to tell every single one of my friends about how in love I was and what it was like to finally have a boyfriend. On the plus side, I used the actual year to make my SN this time, instead of just random numbers.
This one is so pretentious, I won’t even talk about it.
Abercrombie was cool, okay? It was middle school and I begged my mom to take me there so I could buy ribbon belts and polo shirts that I would wear two at a time with both collars popped. I’m not proud of this. Nor am I proud that I reverted back to random numbers. The spelling of lover as ‘lvr’ is probably the best part though.
At the age of 12, I was about to turn 13 and embark into the land of adults. Look at the plain use of my name with a period between, and the proper capitalization! I knew my name and everyone else would too. Gone were the days of chat speak and not-so-subtle messages. Camille.Kellogg I became and have remained.