Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why "Commander Y"?

What's with your name, Commander Y? Where, or more importantly, why did you pick that?

I get this question a lot. Commander Y, or Cmdr_Y, is my real name. It wasn't always my real name, but rather it changed about 15 years ago.

The Commander part is easy, I was privileged to hold the rank of Commander in His Majesty's First Galactic Navy of the Spiral Arm, which in my native tongue makes a killer acronym that is not yet fully representable in any Terran language.

Tragically, during a mission to quell the native uprising on Omega Ben-12, I lost my first name and most of my last name. The remaining portion had to be amputated. Fortunately for me, not so for the fallen soldiers, there were many spare letters available so I had the Y grafted on. I was then left with my rank and name, Commander Y.

That's the short version. People usually don't ask further than that, but since some do and I have plenty of space, I'll provide more details. This isn't an easy subject for me to talk about, so please understand if I don't always respond to questions about it.

On Omega Ben-12, the natives had been subjugated by His Majesty's Planetary Marines, Third Division, for many, many time-parts. There were rocky patches though, one of the worst being the Alphabet Soup Affair. That uprising was spurred on by a charismatic upstart, whose name loosely translates to Keeper-of-the-Great-Salt-Shaker-and-Other-Table-Top-Condiments (carries a lot more prestige to them). This guy had developed some rather potent alpha-numeric (A-N) ordinance and wasnt afraid to use it anywhere - market places, sporting events, even elementary school spelling bees - that sick bastard.

I won't say that the Un-peace Keepers weren't up to the task of bringing this guy down (it's not nice to speak ill of the mentally challenged), but His Majesty saw fit to call in me and my fully capable Armada of the Consonants.

Shortly after I arrived, I found that twisted Keeper-of-the-Great-Salt-Shaker-and-Other-Table-Top-Condiments, or Salty-Bottoms as I enjoyed calling him. He had captured a school bus full of innocent mono-syllabic utterances and was about to detonate a bomb made of that A-N junk. My troops had him cornered between a rock and a conjunction. My shuttle brought me down nearby. I strode up to the bus just as that guy was about to let loose.

I saw him twitch, the bad guys always twitch right before they pull the trigger or break wind, and I wasn't going to take a chance. He was gonna blow the bus or his ass, and neither one would have sat well with me. I pulled out the glorious MS Grammar Check and promptly corrected his hanging participle into oblivion.

While on a float in the victory parade after the revolt had been squashed, the driver of my "In Praise of Tulips" float hit a land mine stuffed with the aforementioned A-N ordinance. (Yeah, I didn't see that coming either.)

Before the Spelling Medics could stop the flow, I had vented out all of my consonants and almost all my vowels -- what a mess! There were Q's, R's, T's, M's just all over the place. Heck, my understudy even slipped on my I gross!

The Medics took the Y off of the float's driver and sowed it right on using some trans-morgrified dental floss. The transplant took, some minor scarring occurred, and here I am. I've learned to live with my syllabic disability, giving speeches at area High Schools for young people also afflicted with transplanted names. I'm truly awe-inspiring in person, even breath-taking.

Note: Since then I've actually been promoted to Future Supreme Pontificus Terra-3 (don't tell anyone yet), but I still use Commander as a tribute to all of my fallen comrades, equipment, and typos. Without the sacrifice of many soldiers and officers of the Grammar Squad, I don't think that I could have gotten to where I am today. For that reason, while I do take the additional pay and benefits of my increased rank, I will not accept any of the additional responsibility or inconvenience and will henceforth, forever more, be referred to as Commander Y or simply The Commander. Even when promoted to Full Supreme Pontificus, I'll still go by The Commander for a period of no less than one week following the promotion.

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