Thursday, February 6, 2014

I Am Dexter

The Dexters
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

This blog is not a confession about my double life as a vigilante serial killer from Miami.  Nor do I double as a red-headed brainiac with my own lab.  Long before either of these Dexters were a part of pop culture, most of my friends knew me by that "geeky" name.

It was September 1991.  I was a freshman at Southeast Missouri State University when a friend I've known since before kindergarten was down for a visit.  I was watching an episode of The Simpsons on VHS with a group of friends.  It was the one where Martin tutors Bart.  Before they get to that point, Bart says to Martin, "Throw me the ball Poindexter."  My friend announced to the room, "That's how Hunsperger was when we were kids."

Martin Prince
aka Poindexter
Instantly, people started calling me Poindexter.  However that seemed like too much to say, so it was quickly shortened to Dexter.  Even though the origin of the nickname was a jab at just how geeky I was as a child, I liked it.  Dexter sounded cool to me and I embraced the new moniker. It didn't take long before everyone I knew started calling me Dexter or Dex.  In fact, I stopped introducing myself as Kevin and just presented my nickname.  My boss at Chuck E. Cheese ordered me a name tag that said Dexter.  And in a low point of my college days, I changed the title of Color Me Badd's "I Wanna Sex You Up" to you guessed it, "I Wanna Dex You Up."  Sad admission, but true.

As the college years went on and this strange new thing called the Internet came about, my first email address was dexter@midwest.net.  When I switched to AOL, I became TVDexter (because I was pursuing a job in television news)  My wife and I actually added Dexter to our list of names for our first born son.  It made it to the Top 10, but I didn't want the first and last names to end with "ER", and Dex Hunsperger just didn't sound right.

Dexter and friends...
That nickname was given to me more than 20 years ago, and my college friends still call me Dexter.  Now when I meet people and they hear the name, they assume it's because of the Showtime hit show.  I think the Michael C. Hall character has given the name some cred and people think it's cool.  But then I tell them the Martin story and they don't seem quite as impressed.

Some people get offended when they're given a nickname, I've always thought of it as a term of endearment.  When I give someone a nickname I keep that in mind.  Try not to insult the person, and be sure to make it fun.  If they're adamantly opposed, back off... a little.


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