Best of RAH:
Brighton Bealer Memoirs
by Dave Bealer
This commentary first appeared in the February 1995 issue of Random
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
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
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:
Shell to DOS... come in DOS... Do you copy?