One of the Groundhog Day realities from the beginning of my professional career involved the frequent inability of clients and even coworkers to accurately recall my last name. I had been there weeks, months even, and it seemed like the random variations kept turning up: Maple, Martle, and my favorite, Markle. Growing up, I had many peers with far more challenging, interesting, and syllabic surnames; I would have never expected that Marple would pose as much of a problem as it has.
To be honest, I may have brought this upon myself. It was a common pastime for me and my college roommates to invent close-but-not-quite-right names for each other, possibly for malintent, so Jay Cornell became Ray Hormell, Brandon Collins became Braden Rollins, and Erik Marple became Derek Marker. ###EP holds sign up for the audience to laugh.###
We're taught, at some point, that recalling and using others' names is a bonding mechanism. It buttresses relationships and is a surprisingly effective social lubricant. So, my fault or not, playing the part of armchair psychiatrist for a minute, this has contributed to a personal neurosis that has to understand why this is such an effort for others:
- I legit have an enunciation and volume problem, in person. It's entirely possible that people just aren't hearing me. (See: The Low Talker, of Seinfeld notoriety.) It's also why the NATO alphabet is always on standby.
- If my life were The Sims, I'd definitely be lacking in charisma points. Being clinically introverted, I admit that I could have a forgettable disposition, or worse, that I go out of my way to blend in. I didn't get the gregarious gene, for sure.
- What I have to say to others may not be valuable? memorable? relevant, even? *gulp*
So what does this have to do with a nascent coding blog? Scott Hanselman has previously written about the presence of dark matter developers: guys like me who make a living coding applications, but who don't go to conferences, don't engage online regarding their bugs, don't publish content to npm or GitHub to be used by others. In a word, they just... don't. We know they exist, but we're waiting for the evidence to prove it. Hanselman argues that this could be attributable to their productivity, but the critique on not giving back remains.
This is something that sits with me. I can spend HOURS on white pages, API documentation, or StackOverflow researching something I'm doing wrong, but the impulse to comment, post my own code, or even visit other threads to help out just isn't there. I've got to admit; it feels closely related to the self-effacing tendencies I admitted above. The desire to feel proficient at what I'm doing is at odds with not wanting to be considered an authority, or worse, to be hip-checked constantly. But temet nosce doesn't seem like a good enough excuse to stay in the shadows, to not share, or to not engage.
So call me Markle, Erik, jerkface, whatever pleases. I'm a hobbyist-turned-professional coder, living in the world of .NET applications, doing my best to integrate them with client-side technologies, of which Angular currently reigns. I'm neither expert nor novice, and I am most opinionated when it comes to UI/UX design, accessibility, strongly-typed languages, and death-by-poor-tooling. I'm a fan of niche cultural references and well-timed profanity (hope that doesn't offend). I hope to share with you my successes and defeats, and to find some humor along the way. Welcome to my hurt locker.