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17 June 2012

Dean Lee Lusk, Jr. - A Fathers Day Post

My name is not Dean Lee Lusk, Jr. 

I bucked the system from an early age. Though we weren't a college football-loving family, it has to be understood that in Alabama one must select either the University of Alabama or Auburn University (nowadays Tennessee is a viable option, too) as a militantly-favorite college football team, even if said person never watches a game. (Except for the annual Alabama/Auburn game, which is absolutely required viewing in this area of the country.)

There was a child's limerick I remember my brother Joe reciting one time when I was, oh, I don't know... maybe five years old or so. I believe Joe had heard it at school. It went like this: "Yea Alabama, Roll Tide! Look at all the chickens on the other side..." At least, I think it was "chickens." All I know for certain is that it wasn't a bad word.There was more to the rhyme, but that's enough to give you an idea of how silly it was.

Since most of the people I knew were Bama fans, I was determined not to be one. So for about a week I attempted to get a rise out of my brother by periodically spouting in sing-song fashion, "Yea Auburn, Roll Tide! Look at all the chickens on the other side..." Now, this was amazingly stupid, because "Roll Tide" is a rally chant for Alabama's football team. It isn't Auburn's. Not at all. Joe tried to explain it to me but 1) I was too young to understand what "roll tide" was, or 2) I was too busy continuing to voice my nonsensical version of the cheer to listen.

That should give you an idea of how I wanted to be different even if it didn't make any sense. I didn't realize such foolishness would be a lasting personality trait.

I'm guessing that lots of little kids wish they'd been named something else, even if they aren't named something like Eustace Clarence Scrubb. I did. I wished I'd been named something other than Stewart Dean Lusk. Oh, and I repeatedly told my parents that I was sure I'd been adopted, but that's a different story. At one point in Kindergarten after having gone through Letterbook A, Letterbook B, Letterbook C, etc., I grew fond of the little group of characters named Ned, Ted, Ed, and Dolly, and I wanted to be named Ted for a while.

Earlier than that, though, I realized that my name didn't line up with the names of my dad and brother: Joe Lee Lusk and Joe Lee Lusk, Jr. This was unacceptable, of course. I didn't want to be named Stewart Dean Lusk. I wanted to have a part in the men's family naming scheme.

Joe Lee Lusk, Jr., Joe Lee Lusk, Sr., and Dean Lee Lusk, Jr., July 1969

Off and on for a while I got terribly bent out of shape that my parents wouldn't change my name to Dean Lee Lusk, Jr. I mean, why did they get those names and I didn't?! Who cares if it would've made no sense at all? I just didn't want to be named Stewart Dean Lusk. Shockingly, my dad never gave in to my annoying whining. He never went to the courthouse and legally changed my name.

I am grateful that my father knew best all along and didn't change things based on what I thought would be good or most gratifying to me.

I don't need to tell you that has a spiritual parallel, do I?

Happy Fathers Day, Dad! I love you!


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