Staffer: Brett Williams
It was around 2003 and I was a middle-schooler in the greater Cleveland area, so of course I was all about LeBron James. Only later, when I started taking French, I found out not only did I spell the name differently than LeBron—I was using the feminine article. It was too late to change so I swallowed my pride and kept IMing the ladies on dial-up like a madman."
Staffer: Jeremy Glass
"This was my screen name when I was, surprise, 12 years old. I had a seriously unhealthy obsession with Andy Kaufman at the time and wanted to show the world how I felt. It was more than the "Man on the Moon" movie, I literally thought I was the reincarnation of the guy. I wonder if he's actually dead..."
Staffer: Matt Meltzer
"When I was in High School I tried to prove I was some kind of badass by telling people, 'I'm a Beast, I don't feel pain,' then letting them punch me in the stomach, spray me with pepper spray and generally do stuff to me that Johnny Knoxville later went on to make millions of dollars letting people do to him. So my nickname became 'Beast.' I also had this strange infatuation with Spanish because I thought Miami was, like, the coolest place ever (I later learned it's not) so I decided instead of calling myself 'TheBeast1995', I'd give it a little Latin flair and make myself look like a Cuban tough guy from Miami. In the true spirit of AOL chatrooms, however, I was in fact a white kid from Seattle who played tuba in the marching band."
Staffer: Laura Murray
"I was in the sixth grade when Avril Lavigne reigned as queen. It was at some hazy point after binge watching the music videos for "Complicated" and 'SK8er Boi' on loop that my best friend and I decided 'OK, we're going to be SKATER girls now.' We created similar screenname accounts to commemorate the moment. I quickly decided after eating it falling from my $30 mongoose that the lifestyle was not for me. Regrettably, the screenname served as my identity for many years after."
Staffer: Julie Cerick
"My original screenname was Jucee467, which was a combination of my first and last name with a seductive play on the word 'JUICY.' It made me feel vibrant and alive as a pimply middle-schooler, but it was short-lived. One weird, creepy day, I decided to send the new boy, Chris, a series of Mandy Moore lyrics to let him know that I wanted to be with him. He responded, quite sternly, by telling me that he wanted to lick me from my head to my toes, then move down from the bed to the floor.
"Despite the fact that I had a full-length poster of Tyrese and 50 Cent in my bedroom, I had no idea these were lyrics. I panicked, felt violated, knew Chris was NOT the one for me (~eW~), and for some reason... told my dad? After a series of parent-to-parent phone calls that made me want to drown in a rusty toilet bowl of embarrassment, Dad decided The Internet was not a safe place. And so, AIM was taken away from me, forever. I did this to myself.
"After months and months of feeling completely left out, and of having profile-update withdrawal, I begged my Dad to let me have AIM back. Because it was, like, 2002, no parent knew what AIM actually was. He thought that any man could access me, type some vulgar Luda lyrics to me, and then obviously abduct me. So, I could have AIM back under ONE condition: my new screenname would not give away my gender, so that I was not a target for creepy old men. I failed miserably at convincing him that this was NOT how AIM worked, but I wanted it back so badly that I didn't care what my screenname was. I NEEDED TO PUT THE NEW DIXIE CHICKS LYRICS IN MY PROFILE.
"My dad set up my new screenname one night after school. Hamburger360 was to be my screenname for the next three years. I was terrified to IM any senior boy, any girl from summer camp... anyone, really. So I hid in shame with that screenname and talked to about four people total for three years. Including SmarterChild."
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
Dave Infante is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow @dinfontay on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.