Duroc, or Dorock

For whatever reason, I have always had nicknames. It started when I was a baby. My first one was Bruno. I understand from my mom and dad that they gave me that moniker shortly after I arrived in Cushing, Oklahoma. I have never known or understood where Bruno came from. As a child, I wasn’t known as Derek around the house; it was Rick. To this day, my sister calls me Rick.

Sometime around the time I entered college, the given name of Derek stuck … for a while.

In fact, my first byline when I was a reporter for the University Star at Southwest Texas State University was Derek Aldridge.

I have learned to answer to all names, whether friendly or blasphemous.

From there, the list has grown. I have had so many I  have forgotten many of them. Because I wore glasses through high school, my friend, Fred, called me Bottles. That one stuck among a few of my high school friends.

I have also answered to Radar, Mom, among others, and there are doozies of stories for each, but there is one nickname that has pretty much followed me around the country.


When I was a copy editor at the Columbus (Ga.) Enquirer shortly after graduate school, a friend there, David, began calling me Dorock. We played clay tennis together in the humidity of Carson McCullers‘ home town of Columbus, Ga. It was a really fun bunch working together at the Enquirer. On one occasion, reporters and editors decided we needed to get some green plants and raise them on our desks. We should have known the likelihood of this being a lasting event was slim to none because there were no windows in the newsroom. Someone decided we needed to name our plants after known or attempted assassins. I named my ivy after Squeaky Fromme, who tried to kill Gerald Ford.

Gavrilo Princip

Sitting across the newsroom from me was a very talented reporter, who happened to have been a Rhodes scholar. Of course, he named his plant Gavrilo Princip, the assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which precipitated the start of World War I. Kinda figured for a Rhodes scholar.

For some reason that escapes me, Dorock has followed me from journalism to public relations to consulting. Many years after Dave planted that nickname on my shoulders, I learned that a duroc was a breed of pig. For a few moments, I wondered how much of a friend Dave really was. I believe his motives were pure.

Any way, so just recently when good friends Gary, Kathy and their daughter, Elizabeth, were touring the sites of Paris, they had a moment that reminded them of their friend here in Dallas. At one of the stops on the Paris Metro, there is a Duroc station. I am so proud.

I share this picture with you because I think that if someone gives you a nickname it is a symbol of affection. For example, I call my daughter, Casey, Lou-Baby. She knows that if I call her Casey, I mean business. Just about all the time it is Lou-Baby. JD and Patti have both been Red in their past. Can you guess what color hair they have?

While on our honeymoon, I gave Patti a copy of the book “How to Talk Southern.” As you can imagine, it was a book of humor, really making fun of Southern mannerisms and idioms. At that time, I became Hub and Patti became Waf. Again, more evidence of nicknames.

If you have a nickname, cherish it. Someone out there loves you.