Origin of my Handle

Tek2way (tek’ too way) n. – 1. Online handle of Anthony Adkins. In use on various services, chat programs, and as part of E-mail addresses, since 1997. 2. Altered form of Tech-2-way. Implemented due to AOL restrictions on “tech” being the first part of a screenname. [Derived from Old Anthony, Tech-2-way, from the tire patch dispenser on the wall of my friend’s garage back in 1993.]

Back in the summer of 1993, I was helping my friend Kevin rebuild the transmission in his 1981 Ford Escort Station Wagon. You see, the day we were supposed to go see Jurassic Park, his clutch shattered. That’s right. Shattered. I eventually saw Jurassic Park, but I spent quite a bit of time in his garage that summer anyway.

He had a pretty impressive auto-maintenance garage back then, in part because his dad ran a Gulf Station back when gas stations were known as “service stations”. (For those too young to know, a service station did more than just sell gas. They did brakes, changed oil, and those other maintenance-type things.) Well, when his dad finally closed up shop, he brought home all kinds of things that were in the service section of the station. One of them was a rather innocuous-looking tire patch dispenser.

Toward the end of that summer, I began to really become enamored of the concept of computers and BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems). For those again unsure of what I speak, let me clarify.

  • A BBS is basically a hosting software that you run on your computer, and people call the phone line you have hooked up to your computer, which would then answer the phone. It is loosely like calling an access number to get on the Internet, except that once you were dialed into the person’s computer, you only had his computer to peruse. You could get files, play games, chat with others online (via a BBS with multiple phone lines), leave messages, and read articles. Heck, if you could prove you were over 18, you could even get porn. (NOTHING like it is today. But I digress…)

One of the really important things about getting online was to have a good “handle”, or, in layman’s terms, a nickname. I thought and thought. Comic book characters, fantasy heroes from novels, heck, even Wintermute and Case (William Gibson reference for those who know). But nothing worked. It was either already taken, sounded stupid, or I was advised that I would get laughed at. Things looked bleak. I didn’t think I would ever find a handle. Which, in my way of thinking, meant I would never get to go online, and have fun. (And it looked fun to me, too. That’s the reason I’m here now. 🙂 )

One day, we were working in the garage, and I noticed the tire patch dispenser. The current topic of conversation was my handle, or lack thereof. I pointed at the dispenser, laughed, and said, “I could use the handle Tech-2-way. That’d go over well.” Kevin joined me in laughing, but we both felt it: it had that kind of ring to it. The kind of ring that makes you decide that it’s for you.

A couple of weeks later, I called my first BBS. (Note, I was using Kevin’s Amiga 500 at the time, since I didn’t have a computer at home yet. More later.) I filled out the new user application, and got to the “What do you want to be called?” prompt. I sat there, staring into the screen. The wired world, the mythological “cyberspace” from Neuromancer (W G reference 2) was just a name away. That’s when I typed those ten fateful characters:

  • T
  • E
  • C
  • H
  • 2
  • W
  • A
  • Y

Sure enough, the name fit. I was thenceforth known as Tech-2-way online. Later on that summer, I was able to buy my own Amiga 500 with money Kevin gave me for helping him to replace the head gasket on a different car. I loved that computer. *sigh*

Over the years, I’ve had to modify it a bit. I logged into one PC-run BBS (I mostly called BBSs running C-Net Amiga), and couldn’t use hyphens or numerals. I typed it out all in text. Needless to say, I didn’t stick around that BBS. When I got around to AOL, which my friend Charles was using (I was staying with him at the time), I found out that “tech” as a beginning part of a screenname was disallowed. Something about their online techs using that to signify that they’re staff. *shrug* Oh well. I thought about it, and came up with the abbreviation you see me using today: tek2way. It preserved the essence of what I had originally chosen, but looked….. cooler somehow. (I admit it, I’m a total geek.. nerd.. whatever.)

And thus, you have the (not-too-impressive) history of where my online name came from. This is the first time I’ve bothered to write down where it came from. I hope anyone who reads this will appreciate my effort. 🙂

As forever, I remain,
Tek2way

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