Oct 28 2011
I’m not much of a programmer. I’ve written a few thousand lines of code in my life, but that’s just enough to make me familiar with the generalities of programming. One of the things I learned early is that I could either learn to program and sacrifice a large amount of my social skills in the process, or I could learn to pretend to be relatively normal instead. But one thing I did learn about programming is that you always start any array at 0, not 1. Though Andy Ellis did have to remind me of this a couple years ago when I started tweeting about my family occasionally.
If you follow me on twitter (@mckeay) you’ll know that I occasionally write about some of the things my family do and/or say. Even if they sometimes only do and/or say the things I attribute to them in my head. And whenever I mention their actions, real and imagined, I refer to them as “Wife0”, “Spawn0” and “Spawn1”. Which causes me to get a lot of questions about why I call them that. As well as the occasional joke about “Does that mean you plan on instantiating Wife1?” To which I reply, “No, since instantiation of Wife1 would require the utter destruction of the Martin parent process” Oh, geek humor.
Why don’t I just refer to them by name? Partially because it’s become a running joke in the family and it amuses me. But mostly because the names of my family are none of the business with 99% of the people who follow me on twitter and of 99.99% of the people on the Internet! If you know me well enough that I feel like telling you or if I know you well enough that I’ve actually introduced you to my family, then you have a right and need to know what their names really are. But if you’re an ‘internet friend’, someone I meet every few months at a conference or simply someone who’s decided to follow me because I’m sometimes entertaining on twitter, there’s no need or reason for you to know what I call my family at home. I always refer to Wife0 as Wife0, Spawn0 as Spawn0 and Spawn1 as Trouble… er, Spawn1.
Seriously though, there’s enough information leakage that I knowingly let out on twitter and the blog. And I leak a fair amount of information about my wife and children just by talking about them from time to time. If someone really wanted to, it wouldn’t be that hard to look them up and find out who they are, where we live and any number of other facts about my family. But I see no need to make that any easier by spewing out their names every time I want to share an amusing anecdote with my friends and followers on the Internet. I give them some small manner of anonymity by not referring to them by name and by making no guarantees that anything I’ve ever said about them was based on reality. And there’s a fair portion of what I say about them on twitter really does only happen in my mind. But that doesn’t mean it amuses me any less.