Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I'm not the man you thought I was

I recently discovered that some of you have come here looking for an entirely different Derek Gentry.

So, just to clarify: I'm not him. I'm me.

I can certainly understand the confusion. In addition to having the same name, this other Derek Gentry and I are roughly the same age, and we both work in IT. The difference between us, it seems, is that he has been accused of defrauding a scented candle company out of $800,000, whereas I...well, my rigorous TV-watching schedule just doesn't allow for projects that ambitious.

I will admit, however, that after visiting the alleged candle company's website, I sorta wanted to bring them down too. I can't really explain or justify this impulse…I guess it’s just a Derek Gentry thing.

According to HowManyOfMe.com, there are thirty-one Derek Gentrys in the US, something that I was blissfully unaware of until recently. But now whenever I come across one of us, I wonder, Is he a better Derek Gentry than I am? Has he more fully realized his Derek Gentry potential than I have? My conclusion: Probably. I’ve always suspected that somebody else could do a better job of being me.

I also wonder: Would I have become a different person if I'd been given a different name? I think I would. A judge in New Zealand actually made a 9-year-old girl a ward of the court because her parents had named her Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii, saying that the name "makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap." I agree, and also I think the same could be said of the other names mentioned in the article, like "Number 16 Bus Shelter." How could you not be affected by growing up with a name like that?

Derek Gentry has been pretty good to me though. It did not lend itself to playground taunting, which is an important test of any name. As a kid, I sometimes wished that I was named “Steve,” but that was only because I also wanted to be The Six Million Dollar Man. At other times, I wished that Derek shortened to something, or that I had a nickname, but I've gotten over that.

I now work at a company where nicknaming is rampant, but unfortunately, these nicknames are often based on your initials. As a result, I get called DAG, DAGman, DAGmar, and DAGnabbit. None of these is exactly music to my ears, but the best one by far is "DAGmaster," which blossoms into "DAGmastah" when pronounced with the propah Massachusetts accent. If I ever pull a Joaquin Phoenix and drop IT for hip-hop, I will adopt the name DagMastah Flash.

Until then, you can just call me Derek. If it's even me you're looking for.


  1. I thought you did have a nickname! Wasn't it pooper-dooper or some such thing? :)

  2. So I've been told...my memory of the first 18 months of my life is pretty fuzzy.

    But I guess that's the tricky thing about nicknames--you don't really get to choose your own.

  3. There are 1 or fewer people in the U.S. named Mr Jiggs.

    Wadda ya think of THAT, Rek…

  4. It makes me think of Chet Baker singing "There Will Never Ever Be Another You." I mean, not so much the drippy "other lips that I may kiss" part, but I think we can all agree that there could never, ever be another Mr. Jiggs.

  5. Yup, pooper-dooper was it! Actually, when the fam gets together, we still ask "how's pooper-dooper doing?"

  6. Okay, but I don't think Pooper-Dooper is going to fit on the pocket of my bowling shirt. Maybe "PD" for short...a nickname for my nickname?

  7. I love this! I hadn't thought much about my name before, but now that I think about it my various names have been good and bad to me, depending. And I like the idea of being a good version of my name.

  8. Derek,

    I ran across your website today when looking for information on a different Derek Gentry and your question as to whether or not HE has been a BETTER Derek Gentry than you caught my eye. With my experience with this other Mr. Gentry and my lack of experience with you, I can honestly say NO, he surely has not been a better Derek than you. With 2 ex-wives, and three children, along with a current wife, newborn son and 3 step sons, and facing a court trial to determine whether or not he indeed DID steal the $862,000,I belive he has not been the best person or Derek Gentry he could have been.

  9. Hey, I wanted to be Steve Austin, too. My career plan was to blow up in a rocket and my friend would put me back together again. But he ended up a radiologist, not Rudy, and so I have to get all my bionics through ebay.

    I checked that site and there’s 160 Steve Austins, and yet there’s only one Dirk Gently, ‘cause of course, there can be only one Dirk Gently.

  10. Well, even if you never realized your dream of being blown up in a rocket, at least you still get to be Steve, Steve.

    To quote the Bard, "A Steve by any other name just wouldn't be Steve."

  11. Well, you know, I didn’t want to rub it in, but not only am I a Steve, but guess what my middle name is.

    Hint: Around the office they’d call me SACmaster.

  12. Hey there, not-the-Derek-I'm-thinking-of...

    I was just doing a search to see if that other, lesser, Derek has gone to trial yet. As a former employee of the candle company in question, I have to say that if you could rally all the other Derek Gentrys (Gentries?) to bring down the company, well, that'd be really nifty.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, Derek.

  13. My name is Derek Gentry as well (crazy) age38. A former soldier of the 82nd Airborne. I now have 16 years in as a correctional officer between two max prisons. 2 national titles in inline hockey (yea) third and fourth place as well. (boo) A lovely wife 5 mos. pregnant and a chocolate lab.

  14. Thanks for stopping by, Derek, and congrats on the baby!