My first email address was Rh1n0girl@aol.com. I think I had it until I was close to 15 or 16, around the time America Online became defunct and crafting the perfect AIM away message was no longer youths’ favorite past time.
Even before the ole Rh1n0girl account I was somewhat of a fanatic. My birthday and Christmas presents consisted of rhinoceros-themed items: books, stuffed animals, figurines, jewelry, t-shirts, etc. I’m honestly surprised at how many items I was able to collect considering most people’s preference towards elephants.
I wrote short stories, imagining myself as a “Rhino Ranger” on an African reserve. I created “Save the Rhinos” posters and plastered them around the house for my already very aware family to see.
In case you haven’t guessed, I wasn’t the most popular kid in school.
When most kids my age were discussing the latest PowerRangers episode or recapping last night’s Hey, Arnold, I twiddled my thumbs hoping someone else had watched Animal Planet’s Crocodile Hunter marathon over the weekend.
I’ve never lost my fascination with the 3rd largest land animal. I regularly check WWF’s job openings, crossing my fingers for one on a rhinoceros conservation campaign and when Charlie’s hosted an animal-themed fundraising party, my costume was a no-brainer.