Every so often, someone will say to me, “Richard Dickson? Boy, your parents must have hated you.” Yes, exactly. It wasn’t that Richard was my father’s name and his father’s name before that. No, my parents decided they so thoroughly despised their first-born child that they would forever brand that hatred into the name he bore. You have truly uncovered the secret shame of my upbringing, Sherlock.
And really, after 44 years on this planet, there’s not a joke or wisecrack you can come up with that I haven’t heard at least a dozen times already. So you’re not being clever. You’re merely walking in the footsteps of people who were in elementary school before you were even born. And even they were recycling stuff by the time I was in sixth grade.
Early on, sure, it bothered me. But what was I supposed to do? Change my name? Yeah, that would go down well with the parents (who, again, did not hate me). So, eventually, my standard response to the jokes became, “Wow, I have never heard that one before!” Because over time, it was true. I’d heard them all. It got the point where I longed for something original just to break the monotony.
Not that my name is entirely without its pitfalls. Once in junior high, when I was a much bigger idiot than I am now, I had a t-shirt made that read on the back:
Really clever, I know. Even had “PRESIDENT” in small letters on the front. Thought I was being oh so funny. Until I wondered why people kept patting me on the back. And then one of my friends finally pointed out that someone had taken some carefully placed pieces of paper and turned my shirt into this:
So much for that shirt.
Even today I’m not entirely immune to it. The original title of this blog was Some Damn Fool Idealistic Crusade, from Ben Kenobi’s line in Star Wars. When it came time to come up with the URL for the blog, the full title was obviously too long. So I used my last name and the last word of the title. Dickson. Crusade. What could go wrong? Except “dicksoncrusade” all too easily converts to “dicks on crusade.” That sure made changing the title a whole lot easier.
But for the most part, I laugh it off. There was a time when some people tried calling my “Dickey” to get a rise out of me, and I just ran with it. When they saw it didn’t bother me, they gave up. I’m an adult. That’s my name. You want to make fun of it, feel free to stay stuck in whatever middle school you inhabit in your mind. Besides, there are so many more things about me to make fun of, if the best you can do is a dick joke, you have my pity.