If you are around my age and my level of geekiness, you might remember the pre-Internet phenomenon of Bulletin Board Systems, or BBSs. BBSs were computers you could call up from your computer (via, yes, you remember correctly: a modem) and connect with, and then you could...well, you could do stuff. Mostly you would write posts on message boards and send messages to other people. Some BBSs were places you could download software (usually hacked). Some BBSs had multiple phone lines so you could real-time chat with other users. If you were a teenage geek/nerd like me, this passed for something like a social life.
Most everyone in BBS land used a handle rather than their real name. Whatever my main handle was, it's lost to me now, which I'm sure is for the best. I'm certain I thought it was cool at the time, and I'm certain now it wasn't cool at all.
But at some point I decided to develop an alter ego named Ima Radster, who posed as a relatively novice user and WROTE ENTIRELY IN ALL CAPS. You know how people now hate it when other people online write in all caps? Well, they hated it even more back then. If you were on a BBS at all, it implied you had a certain minimum level of geekiness/nerdiness, a level that set you into a particular subculture--and boy oh boy ignore the social norms of a subculture at your peril.
But the thing was, being Ima Radster was fun. First of all, Ima Radster was totally convinced that he was, in fact, a radster. He was impervious to all forms of criticism and attack (and boy was he met with criticism and attack); he just plodded cheerfully on. But there was also something kind of delightful about the way he expressed himself, a certain freedom found in those ALL CAPS. He blithely plunged into any conversation he entered, jovial and ignorant, unapologetic to the last. I guess this would fall into what we now consider trolling. But my oh my was it fun.
I MEAN SERIOUSLY GUYS YOU SHOULD TRY IT SOMETIME. JUST HAPPILY TYPE AWAY IN ALL CAPS IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY WORLD AND SEE IF IT DOESN'T MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT THINGS. YOU HAVE TO FOCUS ON THE "HAPPILY" PART, THOUGH--THIS IS NOT THE SPACE TO GET MEAN OR AGGRESSIVE. THIS IS THE SPACE WHERE YOU'RE LIKE, "HEY, REMEMBER THE SPICE GIRLS? THEY WERE GREAT, HUH?"
It's like being the opposite of a ninja.
25 YEARS LATER, AND STILL A RADSTER.