February 3rd, 2005

When Polter-Cows Attack!

Richard III

I just modified my user info.

For Name, it used to say, "Sunil."

Now, it says, "Polter-Cow."

When filling it out initially, I thought, "My name is Sunil. Obviously." Besides, it seemed other people put their real names as well.

Many others, however, put pseudonyms or phrases/sentences that could never really be considered to be a name in any sense of the word.

And I began to feel a little uncomfortable putting my name out there for everyone to see. Which is irrational, because it's no big secret.

It is, though, a little secret.

For years, I have been Polter-Cow. Messageboards, diaries, e-mail addresses. I have associated myself with this hyphenate. Nicknames have arisen, ranging from Polty to P-C. This is the name I have shown the Internet, and for some reason, it felt really weird to be presenting myself as anyone else, this "Sunil" character.

I have crafted this online persona, who is way cooler and more articulate than his real-life counterpart, and while I have tried my best to keep my online communities from colliding, I don't want to juggle too many identities. On the Internet, this is who I am.

Yet, I am who I show you I am. In fact, with this new journal, I have the opportunity to build a character for some of you who have not known me in other formats. LJ Polter-Cow may seem a little different from Buffista Polter-Cow, who may seem a little different from TWoP Polter-Cow. That's probably not true, though, since I'm way too lazy to be anyone but myself.

These waxing philosophical entries never really turn out the way I intend them to.

So the thing is, I didn't want to throw my name out there in my user info. I didn't want that neural connection to be the first to be made. I wanted the flow to be LJ -> Polter-Cow -> Sunil. I need P-C to be the intermediary. Once you figure out the man behind the mask, feel free to address him. Call me Polter-Cow. Call me Sunil. Don't call me Ishmael.

The real name, see, carries a degree of familiarity with it. You address Sunil, and you're talking to the guy typing at his keyboard right now, you're talking to a real person. You address Polter-Cow, and you're talking to a collection of words. Granted, I take credit for those words and listen by proxy, but there's a subtle difference.

Is my name Sunil, but my identity Polter-Cow? It goes back to the eternal debate as to which is the mask, Bruce Wayne or Batman. Which is more powerful, the name we are born with or the name we make for ourselves?

Who the fuck am I?