I recently lost a hard drive and therefore about five months of emails since my last backup. This and some prodding from TomB led me to consider GMail, but that meant I needed an account name. As I was mulling over what name to pick, I was reminded of a question I got from a friend I know through a role playing game, who asked me what name I wanted to be called by. My response was that it didn't matter--I'm comfortable with Laser or Laserlight, or Runehorn, Chainshot, Flurry, Moosashi, Alarishi, Hunter, and so forth in various contexts. What's odd, perhaps, is the answer I did not give; I didn't say "my real name is Chris", because I don't think of that as my real name. Among some cultures, I've heard, a child gets a true name which denotes who he really is; he also has a name which is safe to tell other people, because it's merely a public name rather than his real name, and therefore has no power over him.
In this case everything else I tried was already taken (except MenacingBaa, which would take too much explanation), so I finally settled on chrisdeboe (but since my employer blocks Gmail, keep using the verizon address you're used to).
Is there anyone else who feels their given name isn't their "real" one? If you were picking a name for yourself, what would you pick?