In 1974 when most young guys were buying the new fast car on the block, the 240Z, I bought a British car that I had fallen in love with after driving one on the freeways in California.
Then it was about 1976 when I got involved with a car club that was composed of guys and dolls who had British sports. Most of them had, like me, a Triumph TR-6, but some also had a Triumph TR-7, a Triumph Spitfire, or a Triumph TVR. We started off just meeting in Rock Creek Park on Sunday afternoons, no organization, just everyone freelancing. We would stand around jawing with the car hoods and trunks up. Then someone would suggest that we drive somewhere, usually Haines Point Park in DC and off we went, tops down, mufflers blazing. The club eventually got organized formally, elected officers and started organized club activities, trips and dances.
It was as a club member that my pseudonym started. Remember the CB radios? First 23 Channel and then 40 channel CB radios. Well my CB handle was ROADMAN, for the obvious reason that I had been on the road traveling a lot. Then one day one of the club members started calling me the GADGET MAN because I would regularly show up at club meeting/get together's with a new gadget on my car.....LOL, and the handle fit. The club lasted about 6 years and disbanded in the early 1980's.
When I finally got on the internet years later I tried to use that Gadget Man handle but it was taken, so I thought about it for awhile and came up with a somewhat synonymous handle of TINKERTOY. I was surprised that on some sites Tinkertoy was taken and so I started using primarily Tinkertoy2000. Tinkertoy was officially inaugurated in February 2000 when, at my daughter’s suggestion, I registered on some internet dating sites. I became TINKERTOY2000 on Match.com, Blackplanet.com and several other sites. One of the first things that I learned about the internet was protect your identify. I made the mistake, only once, of giving my full name to someone with whom I had been emailing on one of the web sites. A few days later this person called my house to invite me to dinner. Mind you, this was not someone whom I really knew. And for sure not someone I would give my phone number to. Then I discovered for myself, and from Saraphen whom I had just met, that you can “look up” just about anyone on the internet if you have just some basic information about them. I did it a couple times myself. In both cases I had just a portion of a name and a city and an email address. Using those I was able to not only find where the persons lived, but also print a map with directions directly to their house. So all of you beware that this is still possible, maybe even more so now. From that day forward I always register with my PSEUDONYM and only use my real name on official business cites like my bank, or if I am ordering something using a credit card. But that's the full story and I am sticking with it.