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What's in a Name Anyhow?

Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.

J.D. Salinger, author, A Catcher in The Rye.

J.D. Salinger, author, A Catcher in The Rye.

I've always dreamed of having a nickname. I began having this dream in the grand old year of 1977. Sure, it was long in arriving, but I didn't care. All I wanted was a nickname. Not just a nickname like "Chum," "Bud," or "Sport." I wanted a nickname that was manly and very strong. So strong in fact that when I walked into a social event, everyone stopped jawing to just listen to my nickname. I've always been partial to "J.D." Strong, manly. Easy to say and remember. Who could ask for more?

A few more names that begin with J.D. are . . .J.D. Salinger, author, A Catcher in The Rye; J.D. Cannon, "Peter B. Clifford", boss of McCloud (Dennis Weaver); Jack Elam, "J.D. Smith," deputy, The Dakotas--early TV western; Kiel Martin, "J.D. Larue" detective, Hillstreet Blues.

I used this American hero, Bugs Bunny, to confirm that I did secretly long to use the "Doc," in "What's up, doc?" said a million (and two) times by Bugs B. And pray tell who among us who can possibly forget Gunsmoke's Milburn Stone who did such a marvelous job in playing "Doc Adams" each week. I still miss him in 2022.

J.D Canon of the NBC series, McCloud.

J.D Canon of the NBC series, McCloud.

So it doesn't take a TV/Film expert to know just how important that the name, J.D. really is. Before I go forward, in my early childhood, I was blessed to have a good friend, J.D. Glenn, and his heart was bigger than the State of Alabama and had a body that would easily rival that of the Jolly Green Giant. I kept up with him over the years and someone told me that he lived in Chicago as a bouncer in some seedy club. Then I was told even later that he had passed away. I cried for almost a day. My early thoughts were: special people like my good friend, J.D., did not deserve to die at such an early age. In later years, it dawned on me that God needed J.D. a lot more than I did. No argument.

I've always had another secret, but in this case, a terrible fear. Just what if I had been saddled with a nickname as "Percy, the Pink Teddy Bear?" Go ahead, men. Say it with me. No way! No way whatsoever. Or this stupid nick, "Groucho," not because of my super-humor talent, but because everywhere I went, I would be grumpy as long as the day is long. But I guess that I could live with "Groucho," because of the Marx Brothers.

For my use, the Oceans 11 (and many thereafter), where American heart throb, Brad Pitt did the role as "Rusty Ryan," and in his case, "J.D." would have fit him perfectly. And FYI, "Rusty" is always a great nickname for baby St. Bernard's, hamsters and prize race horses. J.D. is not so well for pretty baby bluebirds or some babies as it goes.

Kiel Martin was J.D. Larue on Hillstreet Blues.

Kiel Martin was J.D. Larue on Hillstreet Blues.

Incidentally, the late singer and songwriter, John Denver's nick-name was not J.D., but it would have worked well as he was very laid-back and sensitive. Denver's Christian name was Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. I miss him and his music.
In my opening paragraph, I touched on how I hated the few nicknames, "Chum," "Sport," and "Bud," so as it turns out, two weeks ago I spent a week in our nearby hospital in Tupelo, Miss., (I would give it a plug, but I am not going to be a hypocrite). I had a Floor Nurse who insisted for some other reason to call me "Bud," and "Buddy," although I told her in a few stern words to not do that anymore. But she kept on.

"Bud" is a fitting name for a famous beer brand and a moniker for close male buddies. Not a patient in a hospital. That is unless his or her nickname is "Bud."

I cannot forget my late-good friend, Donald Carrol's passing some years ago. If he liked you, no matter where you came from, he referred to you as "Slick." Even me. You cannot buy a friend like Donald. When he reached the portals of Glory, The Father, would have said, Hello, Donald. To which Donald would reply, Hello, Slick. (Don't be offended. This was not sacrilegious, but the way that Donald was.)

Tim Moore was the talented Kingfish on the Amos 'n Andy Show.

Tim Moore was the talented Kingfish on the Amos 'n Andy Show.

In case you are wondering, my real nickname is "King Fish," I firmly tell you in all honesty. My nick was given to me in 1974 when I was employed by the now-almost-forgotten, Toll-Gate Garment Co., in Hamilton, Ala., my hometown. I worked in the Piece Goods Dept. and did lots of manual labor. One day my good friend, the now-late Rondal Smothermon, came up and without any fanfare asked my nickname and before I had time to think, out came "King Fish." It caught on.

"King Fish" is NOT to be confused with the legendary actor, the late Tim Moore who was heard on the radio and later on TV on the Amos and Andy Show.

Somehow this makes sense.

Happy New Year to All "J.D.'s"; "Doc's," "Bud,;" "Sport's," and "Chum's."

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© 2022 Kenneth Avery

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