"Yoe" or "wouter"?

For the longest time, I went by the nick "Yoe" when I went on IRC. When I chose this nick for myself, I was sixteen, and the Internet computer at the local public library had an IRC client installed that I tried out. Obviously, my first choice of nick -- "wouter", a fairly common first name in Dutch-speaking regions -- was already chosen, so I had to come up with something else. If I'd realized that I'd still be using this nick today, seventeen years later, I might have chosen that nick with a bit more care...

Over the years, some people have asked me what the nickname meant, where it came from. I've never really told anyone the entire story, mainly because it was somewhat embarrasing. But hey, we've all been 16, right?

In the early nineties, there was a show on TV called "Het huis van wantrouwen". On this show, they had a running joke involving a short clip of Belgian members of parliament informally voting on a subject by raising hands (literally); the joke was that this clip was dubbed with a bunch of people saying "Yoe, de manne" -- which is dutch for something along the lines of "Yo, guys".

As a young geeky teenager, I found this joke way more funny than it actually was; and as such, a few years later, during one of the more weird episodes of my life, I started pranking people by sneaking up to them from behind and shouting "Yoe, de manne" right next to their ears. I even managed to do this to one of our teachers who was walking on the playground.

This was just around the time when I first tried out this "IRC" thing. It didn't take me too long to realize I was the only person who thought this "joke" was funny; but somehow the nick stuck, and here we are, 17 years later, I'm still using it.

Or, well, I was. As of today, if you want to catch me on IRC, you'll find me going by "wouter" instead of "Yoe". Of course someone had registered that nick several years ago, but then he hadn't been using it in years, and so after a quick request to the OFTC admins they made it available for me.