As far as Tuesday evenings go, last night was a little wild. I broke my self-imposed “no going to bars on weeknights” rule to attend a networking event for people in my industry. As many of you are aware, networking events can be a massive time-waste. This particular event has a reputation for being one of the more prestigious outings, so I decided to stop being a recluse and stepped into the lion’s den of try-hards. And that’s where it happened, because of course.
Viper is going to read this. That’s his
name nickname. If he doesn’t, I’m sure one of his friends will tell him about it. That’s assuming he has friends, so who knows? I don’t know how old Viper is, but if I had to guess, he’s probably in his early-thirties. Tall, solid flow, and impeccably dressed, Viper introduced himself to me as we both fought for the bartender’s attention with eyebrow raises and subtle finger waves. Apparently, neither of us had the right stuff, because we stood there for an eternity. I turned to him and introduced myself. Then it went down.
“Viper. Well, that’s what they call me at the office. Kiper’s my actual name.”
Okay. Was I on the receiving end of a power move of epic proportions, or am I correct to think that this was disturbing? It sure felt lame. Like Miley Cyrus pot joke lame. Maybe it was both? I really don’t know what bothered me more: a grown man that introduced himself to me as a nickname, or the fact that said nickname happened to be one of the greatest on-screen characters of the 20th century.
CDR Mike Metcalf. Call sign: “Viper.”
I get it: your name, which I assume is your last, is one letter away from being identical to the top dog of an elite Naval flying school in Miramar. It’s just too easy. And don’t think I glossed over the fact that, when you did tell me your birth name, it was very likely your last name. That doesn’t work either, Viper. You’re an adult, and unless your parents named you something awful like Dick, or Mel (which would hilariously make your name Mel Kiper), then you should probably provide strangers with your Christian name. That’s just my opinion.
Let’s talk about nicknames. There comes a time when you have to part ways with your nickname. Unless you’re in the military, you’re a professional athlete, or you’re in the entertainment industry, it’s rarely going to be acceptable for you to go by a nickname. If you earned one in college, and it’s followed you around to this day, then I’m willing to cut you some slack. But you should never introduce yourself with that name.
Would I be taken aback if Michael Irvin, Number 88, introduced himself as “The Playmaker”? Not at all. I’d probably think, “That’s bold,” but then again, the guy has three rings and survived an absurd number of off-the-field scandals. I think he’s earned it.
Look, Viper, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you a.) didn’t just start calling yourself Viper, and b.) did not acquire this nickname after the age of thirty. Excluding the exceptions outlined above, you are not allowed to acquire a nickname after you reach age thirty. It just can’t happen. Maybe on rare occasions one can earn a trade name by doing something exceptional in their career, but I’m still not 100 percent comfortable with that. Just because I tolerate something doesn’t mean I have to like it. But I digress.
I know there’s some irony in this, as I’m publishing an article about a psychopath that goes bar to bar intro’ing himself as Viper under the name “D-Man.” It’s not lost on me. But this is the internet. It’s the information super highway; it’s not the real world. My name is David, by the way. Call sign: Crime Dog.
I could be missing the mark here, and if I am, I’m sure I’ll hear about it. Viper could be a titan of industry that I should just be thankful I had the privilege of meeting. Maybe he looked and me and thought, “This kid has a confidence problem.” That could be the case. I understand that there’s a chance Viper is a power player on the circuit, and from this moment forward, I’m going to assume that’s the case. Yeah, that’s it. Because I don’t want to live in a world where there are random spare dudes walking around bars introducing themselves as Viper. I just don’t.
Here’s to you, Viper. The next time I see you out, I’ll look over at my wingman and shout, “Holy shit, it’s Viper!” Then I’ll buy you a beer..
Image via YouTube