I find that the more time I spend online the more I’m reminded of how I felt about my name in elementary school. See, at her birth my mother was graced with an unusually spelled name. And while Star Wars’ leading actress might have made Carrie common today, when she was growing up my mother struggled. It was the little things, not being able to find her name on novelty items in gift shops while all her siblings found theirs, having teachers constantly misspell it on forms, but the little things added up to an inconvenience that she wished to keep from her children.
Thus the three of us were given fairly normative names. Megan, Phillip, and Eric. And yet if there is one truth of childhood it is that no matter your circumstance you will find some aspect to feel put out about.
For me, the very common nature of my name was upsetting. I hardly went an hour in my school day without being surrounded by others who had the same name, until we starting tacking on numbers and letters just to differentiate each other.
It was a strange sensation. Here is something that marks your identity, your name, and yet I shared that identity with many others. Thousands of others. Did that mean that other parts of me were also the same?
However, childish philosophical questions aside, a similar feeling sweeps over me every time I go to register a username or domain. I come up with something that I think is unique, something pithy and clever. Excited, I pop it into the registration form.
I throw that one idea to the wind and try to come up with another word that gets the same idea across.
I open up a thesaurus and try to find an unusual way of saying what I mean, something unusual and intelligent.
I throw away my original idea and try to come up with another, just as creative as the first two. I rack my brain for the most personal idea I can think of, a name that is as uniquely me as I am. I reach into the depths of my very identity for some sort of polished diamond of me-ness.
Soon, I’m playing with numbers and alternate spellings, weighing the nature of hyphens and odd periods, and trying to figure out when an idea is too far gone to use. It gives me the feeling that nothing I do is special, because apparently someone before me has already had the idea. Is no thought I have unique? Is everything a derivative of something else?
In the middle of this state of despair, stumbling upon a name that works feels like striking oil. Suddenly you’ve pulled yourself out of the pile of mediocrity. You have something original. Something real.
That there is probably the most roundabout way I could possibly explain the strangeness of the name of this website. I knew what I wanted to build- a site organized around the ideas of real stories and facts- but wasn’t sure exactly how to define that. I also knew that I wanted a mascot. Because… well… honestly, who doesn’t want a mascot?
In the world of blogging, the idea of long-form stories and research can sometimes come across as a little archaic. Yet it’s something that I’m passionate about. Thus- the Rampaging Dinosaur. I’m excited by the idea of something a little strange, something a little embarrassing. A dinosaur. A perfect mascot, a quirky metaphor.
And an untaken domain.