I finally decided to follow my son’s Tumblr account, seeing as he’s currently on the other side of the globe and at one point interviewed the opposition leader in some sort of uprising in Macedonia.
His activities have piqued my interest enough for me to make the effort to logon and sign up.
And what an effort it was! Usually it’s my password that doesn’t pass muster, which is why I now have approximately 43 variations on my original (six-letter/one-digit) password-of-choice, each with a slight deviation of capitals, digits and letters, and therefore all now completely impossible to recall. But again, this time I was able to slip by easily with my newly updated, backup eight-letter/one-digit password-of-choice (which I will still probably forget). This time, it was the username that got me.
Of course “robin” wouldn’t work—I didn’t even attempt that. But I had created a handy new username, “alwayswrite,” that I have used before on other sites and considered somewhat clever in a punny sort of way, and which I can actually remember.
So I keyed it in, but that one was taken. I could choose “I-alwayswrite-blog,” which completely loses the pun, or “awesomealwayswritelove,” which is an awful username. So, no. I could also choose “youralwayswrite,” which I would never, ever do, because your in this case should actually be the contraction you’re, and I would rather melt my keyboard into a useless metal blob than choose a username that so defiles one of the most basic grammar rules.
I could, of course, revise the name to read “youralwayswritemother,” but that also blows the pun right out the window. So, no.
The feeble flicker of username creativity that I possess had already been expunged upon the name “alwayswrite,” so I looked around for inspiration. My geraniums are still in bloom in the blue pot on my back deck, so I typed in, “geranium.”
I was stunned to be informed that “someone has already claimed your username,” even when it was so completely random, and I was offered the names “geranium-things,” “a-geranium,” (both of which are stupid, I’m sure you agree), and “omg-geranium,” which is not only stupid, but juvenile. So, no.
Throughout this exercise, however, the Tumblr site offered me a collection of new and unsullied usernames, such as “SecretPhilosopherBouquet,” and “AtomicBluebirdFart,” which were admittedly tempting, but didn’t quite feel right. So, no.
Still on the flower theme, I tried “honeysucklerose,” but that was also taken. I could be “bat-honeysucklerose,” which doesn’t even make sense, or “honeysucklerose-stuff,” which is equally inane. No, and no. Tumblr, meanwhile, offered me “TenaciousFuryStudent,” and “UnadulteratedNinjamoon,” but neither of those really define me, so, no.
I was getting testy now. Our ample bowlful of Halloween candy prompted me to go all-out with “99%chocolate,” a name which not only describes my diet, but also my favorite Lindt chocolate bar. I came awfully close with that one, but was informed that “Tumblrname can only contain letters, numbers and dashes,” although I could choose “omg99chocolateblog,” which again, for reasons mentioned, I would never do.
On the suggestion of one of my twins, I typed in “99chocolate” and was finally admitted to an entirely new page, but then demurred, because I was not ready to abandon the qualifying “%.”
So I backtracked, and of course, had to start all over again. But I was rewarded with a new offering: “TeenageDoughnutEarthquake,” which my own teenage son thought fit me perfectly, and which convinced me that checking out username suggestions on Tumblr could become a habit.
Committed to my username decision, I typed in “99percentchocolate,” which did indeed and at last work. But now I was forced to reveal my age (because Tumblr did not accept “old enough” and because I cannot tell a lie, not even to Tumblr). I then assured Tumblr that I am not a robot, and that was all it needed to know in order to present me with a veritable landslide of Tumblr accounts prime for the following.
It doesn’t understand. I’m only here to follow my son.
Robin Conte is a writer and mother of four who lives in Dunwoody. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.