A to Z 2013 : THE JAK

(An A to Z 2013 Challenge Entry)

There are so many “J” choices to choose from. Like... Just (one I’ve seen many people picking)... Oh! Fun fact: “Just” is the one word I misspell the most over any other. It always comes out “jsut” for some reason. The faster I am attempting to type the more that poor word is butchered. Hmm... there is Jello. Used to love it, but now rarely eat it unless my grandmother makes it. So many... Hmm... I shouldn’t be struggling. Jumbo... makes me think of Crooks.

With so many choices, I suppose this could be viewed as taking the easy way out. That’s because this post will be about me, but honestly, not completely exactly...

We Are Anonymous

While I was exploring some of the participant links of the A to Z Challenge I came across one or two bloggers expressing their anonymity. That if knowing him/her and/or their family, to please keep said information private. They are anonymous, and want to keep it that way, so respect it.

I guess that would make me anonymous too, and like them, I ask that anyone actually knowing me to respect my wishes of remaining so. It isn’t anyone’s place, but my own, to give out any personal information of name, address, where I frequent late Sunday evenings, or what color of boxers I am wearing at any given time (today is blue).

Thanks ;-)

Give It a Name

Jak wasn’t my birth-given name, though that would have been pretty sweet. I’ve had an attachment to the name Jack for as long as I can remember. Maybe I was secretly meant to receive that name, but my parents just weren't fully aware.

Everything is given a name. From people, to objects, to emotions, to hypothetical ideas. For children, the names can be inspired from relatives; books; food...; or, like my name, movies.  I’d imagine when finding out you are about to be a mother/father, picking a name for your child is one of the funnest aspects. I am pretty sure I would enjoy it, but that may be because I already have some picked out. Getting the mother to agree on said names, well... that’s another thing altogether.

Reminiscing about my nick name, and some incidents with friends I’ve recently made from NaNoWriMo, prompted this post. Everyone I met at NaNoWriMo I was introduced to as Jak. In fact, many people over the past few years have come to know me as Jak. Most were (still are) completely unaware of what my real name is.

Exactly why is this?

Mainly, this is because I’ve used the Jak Cryton moniker online since I was a teenager. Ever since being exposed to the internet via AOL. Oh, lovely AOL and your ever memorable dial up tone and “You’ve Got Mail” greeting. Ah, nostalgia. Just as every superhero has an origin story, so do nicknames. I have many (Jak/EmoJak/slowplay). I thought I would give some background to how I received one of mine; where Jak Cryton came from.

You ready?

I Come From a Long Line of Jacks

Jak/Jack has undergone an evolution through the years.

The name Jack has been used for characters since I began playing with army men. His name was Jack Striker. He was a badass, of course. Somehow always the only surviving member of his squad. He would then have to hunt down those who killed his comrades in a blaze of glory!

Eventually, I upgraded to G.I. Joes and Jack Striker was kept. Naturally, he was still as badass as his army men counterpart. Now, however, he could move at multiple joints/hip! For whatever reason, whenever I played with army men thereafter, the name I would use was Jack Deth.

Then I began playing D&D. I was a DM/GM for the better part of two to four years. I never really kept track. while creating the world and campaign for the adventures (friends/fam) I began to feel the tugging of wanting to write stories taking place in this campaign. This was the adolescence of my epic triple trilogy wanting to burst from my mind, but remaining locked.

Back then, though, I was writing. During the process of creating this campaign I was simultaneously creating events and characters for my stories. This is where Jack evolved into Jak Cryton. One thing about Fantasy/Adventure writing I noticed was they always tried to change common names into unique names. Whether that meant dropping a letter, or spelling it in a new way while still maintaining the pronunciation.

So Jack became Jak. Cryton was a randomized last name I created. I can’t recall the exact process. One method I like to use is to grab a newspaper and randomly drop the tip of a pen/pencil down multiple times. Then I make a name out of those letters. If I am lucky, a name comes out of the exact order of letters picked. This is how Kendrid Retry (main character of Demons of Twilight) was born.

Jak Cryton became one of my favorite characters, so when I entered the expansive domain of the interwebs that was the handle/screenname I choose. The rest, in a sense, is history. I have used Jak Cryton as a screenname for almost all of my online interactions. Using it to remain anonymous, never really trusting the online world. Chances are you can find my nickname most anywhere online 5000x more so than my real.

I like it that way, and plan to uphold that for as long as possible.

Revelation Hesitation

The plan was to just come out and “reveal” myself (this post is another that has been planned for months) and share my name with the digital world; anyone following along. Part of this is because the new friends I made, over time, began to continually ask what my real name was. We had known each other for months, but I was still essentially nameless.

There are others who believe there are deeper reasons as to why I use my nickname over my real name. They may be right. For the first time this past winter I claimed Ja(c)k was my real name. Not seriously, but I hadn’t ever done that before. I would beat around the bush, deflect, redirect the conversation elsewhere, but never say it was my name.

It was then I began to think that perhaps these people were right. That I was hiding behind my nickname, perhaps to avoid letting anyone “in” too close. So I was determined to share my real name with them, but that took some time all on it’s own. While many now know it, I am uncertain if they all do. So far they seem to respect the use of my nickname, which I prefer, but I want to tell myself either is fine.

It’s odd, to say the least. I’m odd!

I am barely going to get this post up in time, so I am going to cut this off here. Someday I will feel comfortable sharing my real name with the world, online or otherwise. There are even hints sprinkled throughout this post.

Do have a nickname? Where did it originate from? Anyone else have an odd neurotic aversion to sharing their real name (more so online)?