Beemer (dr_tectonic) wrote,

Interview Meme Answer: the Name

Nothing much interesting going on lately. Instead: interview meme answer!

dcseain asked: How came you to be Beemer, Baron Mustache Wax?

So, Back When I Was A Freshman™*, I arrived at one of MIT's Independent Living Groups, TEP. (Those are actually greek letters, because it's a *ahem* phraternity, which I'm always a little hesitant to mention because there are so many contexts where fratboys have a dreadful reputation, and deservedly so. MIT is not one of those contexts.)

*Note: this is a stock phrase used among people of the tep tribe to denote happenings in the far distant past, back in the misty Dawn Times before teh Intarwebs when the Earth was still largely molten and all those d*mned young whippersnappers who inhabit the haus these days were but unjoined little wriggling gametes in their parents' respective reproductive organs [oh god that's almost actually true this year and no longer just a figure of speech sweet baby moses I am old]. Shockingly, in this instance, it really was Back When I Was A Freshman™, or at least when I would have been a freshman, had I not been a transfer student and already spent my freshman year at another university altogether, but since I spent 4 years at MIT total before graduating, I think it still counts.

Um. Where was I? Oh yes! So anyway, the way things worked back then is that you'd show up for R/O week (Registration and Orientation) and spend a few days jumping through administrative hurdles. Then, on Friday afternoon, there was the Freshman picnic. (Which is another story I must tell sometime.) Then Rush starts. All the upperclassmen pull off their shirts to reveal another shirt with the letters or logo of their ILG or dorm or whatever underneath, and there's a mad scramble and all the frosh are whisked away to be wined (non-alcoholically), dined, entertained, and amused all weekend long, all the while being secretly quizzed, poked, prodded, rated, and evaluated as the ILGs try to decide who they want to recruit to live with them.

Rush starts Friday afternoon. Bids ("we'd like you to live here") can be offered starting Sunday morning. Bids can be accepted ("keen, I'd like to live here, too!") starting Monday morning. And the whole thing is basically done by midday on Wednesday. Oh, and at the same time people are also figuring out which dorm they want to live in if they don't end up in an ILG. It's kind of like, "Hi, welcome to MIT! You have three and a half days to figure out where you're probably going to live for the next four years. No pressure or anything. And get used to it, because it doesn't slow down."

I ended up at TEP, where there is a tradition of nicknames. (This dates back to the days when there were five tall, blond guys named Mike living in the house. People would call up and say "I'd like to talk to Mike." "Which one?" "Tall blond Mike." "Which one!?") Everyone gets a nickname. Sometimes, they relate to people's actual names: N'Djamena's given name is Chad; T-Stop's last name is Kindel (Kendall Square being the T station serving MIT). Sometimes it's for random reasons or no reason at all: Sneaker was wearing Converses just like KPete, one of the alumni who was helping out, and someone pointed and said "Sneakers!" and it stuck; Spackle is named Spackle because it was a good nickname, and somebody needed to be named Spackle.

Sometimes it's because the name is "appropriate", keeping in mind that these names are being come up with and argued over by people (the upperclassmen) who haven't slept for more than four hours in the last three days, are slap-happy with stress and exhaustion, and who are collectively pretty goofy anyway. So Perlick is named Perlick because that's the brand of kegerator the haus had, and he was, what, 16 at the time? And it was just so totally inappropriate that it had to be. Plus he hated it, which is guaranteed to make it stick.

In my case, I was wearing topsiders and I had a tendency to tuck in my shirt, so Golan** decided that I looked like a yuppie. Hence, Beemer.

**Everybody gets a nickname except for people with names like Golan and Ariel and Debabrata, because sleep-deprived college students are generally not clever enough to come up with something more awesome.

At first I didn't like it, but now it's just my name.

As for Baron Mustache Wax, that's from my friend Jessie's online journal. It was pre-LJ, and as with many journallers, she used pseudonyms for everyone. She came to Denver to visit, and we went to the zoo, so she had to write that up and needed a pseudonym for me. After some thought, I came up with Baron Mustache Wax because (1) at the time, I was still waxing my mustache pretty regularly at the time (I don't do it anymore because I am lazy), and (2) the initials are BMW. I thought it was clever.

(Okay, that got a little long...)
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