This question has been posed to me more than once lately. The answer to the question is relatively short, but ultimately unsatisfying without a more in-depth explanation.
Because “Les Jenkins” wasn’t available as an email address at the time I signed up with Earthlink.
Told you it wasn’t very satisfying. I have had a large number of email addresses over the years depending on which service provider I was using and what was available when I signed up. My most recent address prior to this one was simply “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Easy to remember and I was surprised as hell it was available. When I switched to Earthlink the address had already been claimed by someone else. Turns out there are a lot of people named “Les Jenkins” on the net and that can do a lot to damage your sense of uniqueness.
Momentary identity trauma aside, I was suddenly in need of a different login name for my new account with Earthlink. I fell back on what I often used while playing multi-player first person shooters such as Quake or Counter-Strike. The nickname “Dead God”, which I had picked up back in high school from a close friend with a well developed sense of sardonic wit. I always thought it was the ultimate in self-deprecating egotism. A ‘dead’ god is one that no longer has any followers, has become a myth, like Zeus. Get it? Egotistical because I’m comparing myself to a god of sorts, but self-deprecating because I’m a failed god in that I have no followers or worshippers.
Don’t feel too bad if you don’t get it. Most folks don’t. A good number of them assume it has to do with the fact that I am an atheist. While I can see how they might come to that conclusion, my lack of belief in supernatural gods actually had nothing to do with why I first started using the nickname. I just thought it was a nice bit of irony.
For some reason a lot of Christians seem to think I’m making a statement about their god with the nickname. I’ll often get people in various games suddenly stopping to type in such highly intellectual debates as “God isn’t dead!” To which I reply, “What?” and they repeat the question and I end up asking “What makes you think I’m talking about your particular god?” I’ve never had Muslims or Jews or Hindus or even Zoroastrians accuse me of claiming their gods were dead. Only the Christians seem to think I’d be talking about their personal deity.
I even had a family member question the meaning behind my email address shortly after I received it. “Dead God? Isn’t that a bit sadistic? Do you really hate God that much? Or is it all in fun?” I believe is how the query went. I gave a similar explanation to the one I’m giving now. I didn’t mention that I find it hard to hate something I don’t believe exists. That’s like asking “Do you hate the tooth fairy?”
So that’s why my email address starts with the words “dead god”, minus the space. Cause it’s a bad pun that no one gets other than me and one other friend whom I hardly ever see anymore. I could save myself a lot of grief if I were to just change it to something else I suppose, but I can be stubborn sometimes and this is one of those times. On some level I probably enjoy that it bothers some people a little bit. For those of you who are so offended by it you can’t bring yourself to type it I did set up an alternate email account that uses my full first name as in “lesleyjenkins” at earthlink.net. Use either as per your preference.
Oh, and to all you people who seem to think my gaming handle is “Dear God”, get your eyes checked as you probably need glasses…