Laugh Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What's Inside

Best of RAH:
Brighton Bealer Memoirs

by Dave Bealer

This commentary first appeared in the February 1995 issue of Random Access Humor.

Copyright © 1995 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved.

Some people don't like their own names. Of all the billions of problems that can afflict human beings, that has to be one of the worst. After all, your name effects the way people view you throughout your life. For proof look at the Zappa kids, Dweezil and Moon Unit.

Of all the millions of problems I've faced in my life, having to deal with a dopey name is not one of them. Mine was a narrow escape, though. My mother once admitted that she wanted to name me Brighton. Brighton Bealer? Apparently Mom fell off the same flying saucer as Frank Zappa. Luckily, Dad put a stop to that nonsense before it got started and I ended up with the perfectly normal name of David.

Mom was the only person I knew well who called me David. There is something in the mental makeup of most mothers that forces them to refer to all their children by their entire first names. Not that I minded. David is an acceptable name -- in Hebrew it means "beloved." Always short for my age (5' 7" is short for 37, isn't it?), I had to put up with a few slingshot jokes in school, but it wasn't that bad. About the only real problem I have with it is due to childhood years of watching the national television news with my parents. In the unlikely event someone says "Good night, David" to me, I have to fight down the urge to reply, "Good night, Chet, and good night for NBC News."

Other than David Brinkley, I naturally identify with other famous Davids and Daves, both real and fictional. My first memory of this is from 1968, when I saw the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey with some friends. For the next few weeks I had to put up with the little creeps answering my every request with their best HAL 9000 impressions, "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that." Even today I occasionally run into that response from a particularly demented coworker.

It's comforting to know that the last human in the universe will be named Dave. This according to "Red Dwarf," the British science fiction situation comedy series. Dave Lister, the last human, is a chicken soup dispenser repair technician (third class) on the mining ship Red Dwarf. Under normal circumstances, Lister ranked below "the man who changed the bog rolls." (I can readily identify with an underachiever of that magnitude.) Now, stuck three million years in the future, Lister has the run of the ship. The problem is that Dave's only companions are Rimmer, a hologram of his dead bunk mate (whom Lister loathed), a prissy android named Kryten, and Cat, the humanoid descendent (that evolved over three million years) of Lister's pet cat. About the only thing I really have in common with Lister, besides being an underachiever, is that we both like spicy food and hate exercise.

Another fictional Dave I have come to like is Glenn Ford's character from Pocketful of Miracles, Dave "The Dude" Conway. A gambler, bootlegger, and racketeer, this Dave is nobody's chicken soup dispenser repairman. Tough and slick on the outside, The Dude turns out, in classic movie style, to have a heart of gold.

Dave Barry is widely known as the funniest man in America. His reputation is well earned. This Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the Miami Herald is syndicated in hundreds of newspapers worldwide every weekend. Knight- Ridder, the company that owns the Herald, withdrew Dave's column from ClariNet, the Internet's own newspaper, last year. K-R took this action over a flap about the column being redistributed illegally on the net. The illegal actions of a few brain-dead yahoos whose rallying cry was "information wants to be free" caused those Dave Barry fans who are also legitimate subscribers to ClariNet-carrying systems (this writer included) to have to purchase a several pound stack of newsprint every Sunday just so we can read the great man's words. When are these clowns going to realize that creative people (the worthwhile ones) won't work for free, at least forever? "Dave's World," the top ten sitcom based on Dave's columns, stars Harry Anderson as Dave himself. The show can be seen Monday nights on CBS.

Not everything is rosy on the Dave front, I'm sorry to say. One of my least favorite television personalities is "Super" Dave Osborne, of cable infamy. This guy doesn't have to worry about having his stuff stolen by net denizens because he's so irretrievably lame.

David Letterman inherited Johnny Carson's title as the "King of Late Night Talk Show Hosts" a few years back when Johnny retired. The last time I watched Dave regularly was back in the early eighties when I was in college -- anything was more fun than doing homework. No, that's not fair. David Letterman is a funny man. His "stupid pet tricks" were a fun innovation. Still, there was something about Johnny Carson that nobody else has been able to duplicate. At least Paul Shaffer is a better bandleader than Doc Severnsen, plus Paul has a better band.

A few years back the U.S. National Weather Service started naming hurricanes after men as well as women. Color me sexist, but I was a little incensed when the first truly destructive hurricane given a masculine name was Hurricane David. We Davids really aren't like that, unless we have a slingshot.


Dave Bealer is a fifty-something mainframe systems programmer who works with CICS, z/OS and all manner of nasty acronyms at one of the largest heavy metal shops on the East Coast. He shares a waterfront townhome in Pasadena, MD. with a cat who annoys him endlessly as he assiduously avoids writing for and publishing Random Access Humor. Dave can be reached via e-mail at:


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