Piercing Thoughts
by Pierce Thorne

Arrows, By Any Other Name

A funny thing happened to me recently. I have to say "funny" because things like this have happened all through my life. At first they were hurtful. Then they were irritating. Then I started getting used to them. Now I just roll my eyes and feign laughter. Or I just pretend that the person who joked about my name is really much more clever than he (or she) really is.

Surprisingly, this time it was different. Instead of making a joke about my name, this person thought I didn't exist at all. She thought that I was really another person's alter ego.

It's bound to happen, I suppose, in this faceless world of bits and bytes. We get used to the anonymity that the Internet (and the world at large) shrouds us with. Everybody uses monikers and handles in chat rooms, newsgroups, and email threads. By everybody, I even include this woman who suggested I'm a fluke of Descartes' famous postulate. We pretty much assume that other person is probably hiding behind a false identity.

But those of us that are born with unusual names get more than our share of such incredulity, even when we're on the level. We cope with these little life-long tragedies that were inflicted upon us by unwitting or unconcerned parents. Some try to distance themselves from their names. Others embrace them.

Me, I like to think that I was perfectly named. That gremlin that whispered in my mother's ear when I was born was on the mark. Yeah, I got teased a lot as a child, and even now my ID often gets a double-take. But it's suited my personality.

Or maybe my personality was informed by my name. Adversaries in the nature vs. nurture debate can knock themselves out over that chicken-and-egg paradox. I really don't give a damn. All I know is, my name suits me fine.

So what's my point? In this cyberworld where everybody else seems to like wearing the latest fashion appellation, some of us still prefer our cyber-birthday suits. And some of us -- the Ima Hoggs, the Karen Lovins', the Pierce Thornes -- despite our improbable names, really were born that way. And I actually prefer it.

Arrows, by any other name, would pierce as deep. But Pierce I am, and Pierce I think I shall... um... be.

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