Your name is Richard: A thought experiment

Let’s say that, like me, your name is Richard.

There are several nicknames that float around for Richard: Rich, Rick, Ricky, Richie, multiple variations on those based on vowel preferences, Ditch (if you saw Terminal Velocity), and, finally, Dick.

Maybe I’m wrong here, but it’s generally an acceptable practice to designate your own nickname in new introductions. You know, unless you choose something ambitious and most-likely unachievable like “Snake” or “The Viceroy.”

So, you introduce yourself as Rick. Or Rich. Or maybe you’re eight-years-old or a very well-paid Dominican baseball player, so you call yourself Ricky.

The other person responds, “Pleased to meet you, Dick.”

“Please, call me [Rick/Rich/Ricky],” you respond politely. Maybe they misheard you.

“Yeah, sure. Look, Dick, I nee …” he continues, nonplussed.

“No, not Dick. Rrrrick.”

(Or "Di-tch," you courageous Charlie Sheen fan, you.)
(Or “Di-tch,” you courageous Charlie Sheen fan, you.)

“Uh-huh. So as I was saying, Dick …” he resumes, annoyed that you interrupted him while speaking.

“Look, you’re not listening to me. I said my name is Rick. Not Dick. Don’t call me Dick.”

“Woah, calm down now,” he says, raising his hands. “There’s no need to get offended. My great-grandfather was a Dick. That makes me a-sixteenth Dick. I’m just trying to honor you.”

“I don’t care if you’re a full-blooded Dick. I don’t like to be called Dick because I can never tell if someone’s calling me Dick or a dick.”

“Well, that’s your problem, Dick,” he says, getting angry. “I know lots of Richards who call themselves Dick. In fact, 90 percent of the Richards I asked said they were unoffended by the term ‘dick.'”

“Good for them. I, however, don’t want to be called Dick.”

“Do you even know the history behind ‘Dick?'” he says, turning red. “Well, I do. The first person to use the term was a Richard to introduce himself. It wasn’t even a slur back then.”

“I don’t call myself Dick. And it’s a slur right now, especially the way you keep saying it.”

“OK, fine, Richard, since you want to get all politically correct about it,” he says, rolling his eyes. “So, anyway, I need your approval to continue calling a sports team in your honor the Washington Dickskins. Do I have it?”

"And if you don't play ball, I'm moving the Dickskins to Maryland!"
“And if you don’t play ball, I’m moving the Dickskins to Maryland!”

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