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Vital Signs:
Cyber noms de plume reveal a sense of humor

For better or for worse, e-mail is the modus operandi of communication these days. But that doesn't mean electronic correspondence has to be void of personality. Consider the e-mail aliases that the following DMS faculty have chosen for communicating within the Dartmouth e-mail network:

Happy Hal: Allergist Harold Friedman, M.D., acquired his nickname during his residency at the University of Michigan, where he was a self-professed "charter member of the 'Walking Depression Club.'" Today, Friedman, an associate professor emeritus of medicine, admits to cracking the occasional smile.

EoE, Q: "'EoE' stands for 'Expert on Everything,'" says Timothy Quill, M.D., a professor of anesthesiology, "a title conferred by my wife. I think she was being sarcastic, but I sort of liked the implication anyway." Quill also goes by "Q," after the James Bond character Q—the ultimate gadget guy.

Swimbikeraptor: The mantra for triathletes is swim-bike-run. Though a devoted triathlete, Anna Adachi-Mejia, Ph.D., a research coordinator in pediatrics, would rather bike than run, so she's adjusted the usual slogan. "The word raptor makes me think of adventurous high-flying energy," she says. Her mountain bike, Velociraptor, provided the inspiration.

SkyNMR: Jeffrey Dunn, Ph.D., an associate professor of radiology, doesn't like "living as a mole in a dark tunnel," a reference to the fact that many radiology facilities are underground because of the shielding they require. But Dunn managed to get DHMC's nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) equipment located on the seventh floor of Vail. "The system is sited higher off the ground than any other that I know of," he says. "It's closer to the sky, so we called it 'SkyNMR.'"

Massimiliano: In an attempt to escape a "chronically low" self-esteem and the burden of a "short, unusual, and perhaps even somewhat odd name," Roy Fava, Ph.D., a research associate professor of medicine, created an alter ego, Massimiliano. The name was borrowed from a concert pianist in Ravello, Italy. "But it doesn't seem to have changed a thing!" laments Fava.

Yet whether they're inspired by irony, innovation, or an alter ego, these and other cyber noms de plume suggest that a sense of humor is alive and well at DMS and DHMC.

Jennifer "Junipertrails" Durgin

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