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Sunday, January 11, 2004
Reality and Fantasy...

Once upon a time, a long time ago back in 1993, there was Sierra. And Sierra decided to start an online community - a network. And since it was nationwide, and since it was online, and since there was a couple of good online RPG's (Role Playing Games, for the uninitiated), they decided to call it ImagiNation.

And it was good. There were the RPG games; there were simple competitions playing Hearts, or Poker; there were chat rooms.

I was a member of ImagiNation. I eventually became a pseudo sys-op, and a member of the HateKittens. I was a champion Hearts player. And all was good.

There was a local group of users who would meet occasionally at a restaurant, and with a few new users coming online, they decided to meet again. One was very insistent that I be there - I'd never let on to my real name (going under the online name of Kira most of the time) and would only give a general idea of my location (a very large city in the area).

I hemmed, I hawed, I said sure (with no intention of going there because I just wanted to get this one person off my back). Come to find, that more than one of the people there weren't exactly what they said they were, and the one who insisted I be there was rather angered by the fact that I wasn't.

Good thing too - I'm told that they weren't the kind of folks that I wanted to be within 10 feet of.

It was an early warning to me that anyone could be anything they wanted online.

Fast Forward 10 years. I never really forgot that lesson, but somewhere along the way, I think I misplaced it.

It recently came to my attention that two pieces of information that were passed my way were false. One I'm still trying to confirm. Another is still trying to convince me that she's telling the truth and I'm not buying any of it. Many people along with me believed this person, believed her troubles, believed the recent tragedy that supposedly happened to her, and to find that it's not true was even more shocking than the tragedy.

It's an timely reminder to me that you can be anything you want online. You could be married, engaged, or hopelessly single. You could have 10 kids, 5 kids, 2 kids, no kids, or can't have kids. You could decide to quit your job and sell everything in the hopes of owning a llama farm. Your massive bags of stitching in progress could have been destroyed by a bottle of Bailey's spilling all over it. Your significant other (that never existed in the first place) could have been killed in a horrible tragedy, or could have run away with your best friend.

You could create entire realms of a life that you wish existed, or your dream life and no one would ever know the difference. You could be 20 pounds lighter. You could be 15 years younger. Blond, brunette, redhead. Doctor, Lawyer, Architect or Engineer. Any religion you want, any political belief set - and change them all around when the situation suits you best.

You could create multiple people as well to join communities and interact with you and your friends as well. But it would serve you well to create those people with IP addresses that aren't identical to your current IP. And if you decide to have one die, make sure it's in a nice quiet way and not one that would be sure to hit the newspapers.

Basically, make it virtually untraceable.

You could be the most honest person ever in real life, and be the most dishonest liar online.

After all, couldn't I really be a 30 pound mutant feline with amazing intelligence typing this? Or that I could have made up the individuals that are mentioned as cast members in my right hand menu box?

For all you know, I could be a 45 year old, 300 pound single male trucker from Turlock, instead of the 32 year old, 138 pound married female business analyst that I say I am.

And some of you might think that that's true, except that a few of my readers have actually met me, and know who/what I really am...