Well, today I say goodbye to my old friend, the “DarcKnyt” of Internet fame. I’m not sure how to do this. It’s been a big part of my life for a long time.
I became DarcKnyt back in the dim, distant days of Internet past. Back when it wasn’t always safe to be oneself on the ‘net, because clever people – far more clever than I – could figure out scary things like how to become you. Later, this morphed into actual identity theft, wherein credit cards could be taken out in your name over the web and your life could be irrevocably ruined because of malicious losers with big brains and small testicles.
Also, I didn’t necessarily want anyone I dealt with to know who I am. I met some women on the Internet whom I would rather forget. Forever. But one of them I will be with forever, so it wasn’t all bad.
Why the spelling? Well, when I first dipped my toe into the Internet’s icy stream, it was through America OnLine. Good ol’ AOL…remember them? Anyone?
I had a couple of choices back then: AOL, or Comp-U-Serve. Now, Comp-U-Serve was the older sibling, but fading fast in the middle 1990s, so I chose AOL instead. This was so long ago, there was no such thing as “broadband” for home. You could start your own ISP if you wanted, but your customers all needed modems and phone wires to connect.
Anyway, AOL allowed you to choose your own ID, and Comp-U-Serve didn’t. But there was a catch – you could only have something with eight characters. You’d be amazed how much text speak was forwarded in those days with everyone trying to fit something unique, suitable to them, and catchy, all in eight little alphanumeric characters…no special characters allowed.
And so, since “Dark Knight” wouldn’t work, and “Darkknight” wouldn’t work, and “DarkKnyt” would work but was taken… well, I ended up as the “DarcKnyt” of lore and fame.
And I remain him to this day.
But, I’m also J. Dane Tyler, author. And I’m a father now, and a husband to a loving and committed spouse, and I’m an employee and many, many other things besides the DarcKnyt. And I’ve been lots of things here, in my little corner of the Internet, I probably wouldn’t have been if I’d stayed the DarcKnyt. Things like afraid, vulnerable, weak, amiable and phlegmatic. Those things go much better with the person I was before the world humbled me, before my path brought me around such a hard road, and left me tired, old, and fat.
But there’s been a lot of joy along the way. A lot of love. My son and daughter have changed how I see the world forever. And they’ve changed my willingness to present the cape and cowl any more. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being DarcKnyt when he’s needed, but for the most part, I feel it might just be okay to be…me.
So, I’m turning off the lights in the Batcave today, and locking the vault forever. I can’t say I won’t be back, so I won’t detonate the self-destruct mechanism. Just in case. But for now, I think it’s time to move into a new place and experiment with being the man, instead of the mask.
Goodbye, old friend. I’ll miss you.
If anyone is interested and doesn’t yet have it, please use the Contact Me page on this blog to receive the new address. That way, only those who care what might be under the mask (like you haven’t already seen it) will be there, in the new home.
God bless you, and goodbye.