08 December 2004

Because, Believe It Or Not, People Keep Asking

      No, that's not Doctor J pictured at the right, although it's a pretty good likeness. It is, in fact, Kenwood the Moose, whose story has been reported here before, and who has become one of this blog's unofficial mascots. Why include his picture here? Why not, I say. And, as I noted above, our resemblances are quite striking indeed.

      This, however, leads me to the point of this entry, the questions I keep fielding from certain people which can basically be summed up as "Are you a real doctor?" The answer is no, although I do occasionally perform breast and uterus exams upon request. Unfortunately, when I answer that question I'm naturally accosted by subsequent questions, most of which come out as "So why 'Doctor J' then?" (Pardon me while I heave a sigh of exhaustion.) So, once and for all, I'm going to put this matter to rest.

      Years ago, I can no longer remember exactly when, as I was either finishing my undergrad or my MA, several friends of mine would ask me what I was going to do with my life, the question that daunts all people who study English literature. I speculated then I would probably get my doctorate and figure things out from there. So, among many of my friends in the alcohol-serving haunts in my little neck-of-the-woods, I became "the Doctor" or "Doctor J," the latter always said in fine raillery because of its implicit reference to the monstrously tall Julius Irving. (And besides, there's NO other way I'm ever going to find myself compared to a basketball player.)

      Over the years, my Christian name became an archaism. Doctor J had stuck, to the point that I assumed the moniker and now people who've never been to those haunts refer to me by that now-so-ironic nick. Why? I'll be damned if I know for sure, but I suspect that the alias has stuck for referring to the cavalier, beer-toting smart-ass, while my actual name has become permanently linked to formal gestures, bad news and desperate pleas for help. (That my given names are unbearably Biblical may also have something to do with this.) So one name supplanted another, and the rest, as they say, is history. Not very interesting history, mind you, but history nonetheless, with the slightly jazzier-sounding "Dr J" something in fact to be preferred as term of endearment or familiarity. It has more to do, though, with the same reason that we don't refer to John Wayne as "Marion" or Cary Grant as "Archibald": it just doesn't seem right anymore. A rose by any other name is still a prickly proposition.

      So, c'est ca. Now, hopefully, I'll not have to explain this again anytime soon. Too much to ask? Probably. But now you know, if you didn't already. And now, where did I leave that speculum? After all, if a goofy-looking guy like Kenwood can have a harem....

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