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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Origin

I'm sure that many of you whom have stumbled upon my blog have wondered about the name. Tonamok? Is that Native American? African? Isn't it from a book? Isn't that a city in Wisconsin? Or that famous guy in Indonesia? No. No. No. No. And no.

The name itself came about purely by accident and was such a unique name that it has become my moniker for ever more (although someone has since hijacked it in City of Heroes and Star Trek online). So just what the hell does the name mean already?

Patience. You should know by now that I love a good story, and the telling is half the fun.

It was 1995 and I was just getting my start in life. Well not exactly. I had graduated college in 1992 after six long years of study. I had started my collegiate life at Auburn University and halfway through my degree got distracted by what I thought was love, but really just turned out to be a six year infatuation. We all do a lot for love and I followed my desire to Pensacola, Florida where the infatuation eventually ended. I finished my degree and started on my Masters. I had a great job working with the US Army Corps of Engineers making great money for a 28 yr old. Being single I found myself spending entirely too much of my hard earned cash on consumables leaving nothing to show for it once it was done. I made a decision and bought my first home.

I lived literally 10 mins from the beach and often found myself there whenever possible. I realized that something else was missing from my existence. It was in February of that year that I met Amok. She was a thing of beauty. She had wonderful curves in all the right places. And she was fast! My Seadoo SPI filled a void that I had in my life at that time. It was a cold February day when I took her out for the first time. I donned a shorty wetsuit because the water was a frigid 50 something. When I was done that first day, I knew I had to name her "Amok" because when I was with her I was "running amok". OK, so that seems a bit corny now, but at the time I thought it was clever. By the next Saturday she had her name blazoned upon her stern in purple to match her trim.

Every Friday when I would get home from work, I would quickly head to the beach with her. I would spend the weekend with her at the beach, only reluctantly packing up on Sunday evening to get her home in time to clean the salt water off of her before crashing to bed. During this time, I became a staple at the beach. Many of the regulars there began to know me and we had a PWC social caste that was all our own. My set of friends grew as well, most of them joining me throughout the weekend as we played in the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Many of the people around me really didn't know my name. They only knew me as Tony. Tony Amok. When yelled at me from the parking lot of the boat ramp one day, it sounded like "Ton amok". And that's when it stuck. Tonamok was born.

Fortunately, the story didn't end there.

Many things started happening in my life about that time. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was finally growing up. I went from an insecure, angry young man to a very confident and poised individual in the space of about 3 months. My closest friends at the time created a company named "Amok Brothers Communications" starting with T-shirt designs. The company quickly morphed into a web design firm that we sold off to a local ISP. I eventually took that knowledge and came to Atlanta where I've been doing website design and software development since. At the same time, I met the true love of my life and was married a year later. Now, almost 14 years later I look back with wonder during that period. If not for "Amok", I would never have met my wife, I would never have started the career that I have, and I would not have the wonderful life that I now have. All partially due to one little Seadoo.

And my "Amok" is still with me. She has a place of honor in the garage. We still take her out, although not near as much as I did that first summer. When time's got tough over the last year or so, I debated selling her to help with bills, but just couldn't fathom not having her with me.

And the name that I earned that summer with her has stayed with me all this time. If anything the older I get, the more the name fits. The name is on my car, my website, and is my primary name on any website or game out there. So should you run into me on the Dalaran server, you should at least say hi, and ask me how ole "Amok" is doing.

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