A Question of Identity


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Sixty-six days ago, or thereabouts, I took the plunge, and clicked that button on secondlife.com that said, “Join Now!”

Why’d I wait so long? Well, up till then, I didn’t have a computer capable of running Second Life; however, now I did, and I’d installed everything else on it I could. CPU? Athlon64 3200+, check. Video? Radeon X1600 Pro card with 512 Mb RAM, check. Bandwidth? Cable modem, check. Time to overcome those last-minute jitters and do this thing.

The naming of names…”Erbo” was obvious; I’m already known by that handle everywhere from Electric Minds to a variety of other blogs out there. It’s just an abbreviated form of my full name. I’ve been known as “Erbo” since I was in college, even to certain family members. But you have to choose your last name from a restricted set that SL gives you when you sign up. I pick “Evans” for its Colorado connection; Mount Evans, as well as Evans Avenue, which is near where I live. (Though there was an Evans Avenue back in Santa Barbara, too…actually in Summerland, between Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.) So “Erbo Evans” is semantically equal to “ErboColo,” my Xbox Live Gamertag.

Dropped on Orientation Island. I follow the tutorials carefully, trying to understand what this is all about. At the “Appearance” tutorial I stop to mold the face of the standard “Ken” avatar into an approximation of my own. It helped having been enshrined in the Cartoon Universe already, thanks to Nitrozac. I haven’t changed that appearance since then, except to correct my height to something more approximating how tall I really am. But I have augmented that shape with a better skin, decent prim hair, and new contacts to turn it into an even better representation of me. (Actually, it’s sort of an idealized version of me. I’m somewhat more chunky in RL.) Even my standard clothes, the outfit I call “Default Erbo,” closely resemble what I wear to work each day.

Finally, I fly across the chasm to the Graduation Pavilion. I eschew the concept of Help Island and click the teleport straight to the Mainland. Next thing I know, I’ve landed at Waterhead.

Unbeknownst to me at the time…the adventure was just beginning.

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