wherefore art thou ploafmaster?

Have I REALLY never written about this on my blog? I searched a few versions of my website and couldn’t find a post about the origin of “ploafmaster”. So I’ve adapted the below text from a forum post on RadioParadise.com. Forgive me if you’ve heard this all before.

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I’d really like to say that there’s some deep significance to my broadly-used Internet nom de guerre. Sadly, there is no clever explanation. It all really starts with PLOAF, teenagers, and a candy-coated Apple computer…

When I was in high school a computer game developer named Bungie (later purchased by Microsoft, and creator of the Halo franchise) published a game for PC and Mac called “Myth.” No, not Myst…thank goodness. Myth was a new type of real-time strategy game with fantastic multiplayer features, and my friends and I would often play on one friend’s father’s iMac (the original style) in the office. One useful feature was the ability to establish teams, or “Orders.” Our dorky appellation was “Gun Toting Ferrets” with the disturbing/cute banner of a fuzzy animal carrying a Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistol (inane, yes, I know). We encountered another group of competitors who called themselves, “PLOAF.” Besides our delight at such a funny name, we were curious about its meaning. So we asked. We sent messages to the group asking about it, but they never replied. We spent several weeks trying to get an answer, but no dice.

Eventually we did the only thing we could as immature, high school males: we adopted the word as our own, and used it for whatever we wanted. Not as a “secret word”, to “get attention”, or as an excuse to use “unnecessary quotation marks”. We decided it would represent any part of speech and any definition – never to be assigned a permanent meaning. I even used PLOAF on the license plates of my 1985 Honda Prelude (rest in peace, li’l brudder) when I was a sophomore at VCU in Richmond.

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So why the “master” suffixed to this strange word? Well the answer is lamer than what I’ve already told you. The rest of my user name comes from a marriage of punk rock an over-complicated card game I played in college.

In 1987, punk rock band The Descendants released an album titled “All”, which included a comical chanted song called “The All-O-Gistics”. My same Myth-playing friends and I used to crack up listening to this tune in high school. It starts off with these words:

O worshippers of the Mighty All, I had a dream. The Bassmaster General came to me. We had a little snack at the donut shop.

Right away you’re connecting the dots. Well a few years into my undergraduate years at VCU, I played a card game called “Mao” (look it up) with several friends who already identified me with the term “ploaf” by way of my license plate (among other things). In our variant of the card game, the “Mao” for the round could make up a few rules. So one of my rules was that players who spoke had to address me as “Ploafmaster General”. It’s really that simple. A nonsense portmanteau. Thereafter I adopted “ploafmaster” as a user name as early as 2004, and “Ploafmaster General” as the title of my first serious blog around 2005.

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Sadly, I discovered the true origin of “ploaf” a few years ago. Out of sheer curiosity, I ran the occasional search for the word PLOAF on the internet. One year, I actually turned up a result – a web page for the very order of Myth players. To my dismay, the word was indeed a contraction of two really dopey words: Pimento Loafers.

Someday I’ll find these guys and give ’em a hard time for such a weak-sauce team name. Meanwhile, I can still be seen driving around Richmond rocking the PLOAF license plates (albeit on a different car).