I was leaning against a 4x4 wooden pole that supported Edison lighting strung, like a web, over an outdoor bar, talking to a woman I once worked with, when a drunken fool tottered up, leered at me, and demanded my name. My reaction was to beg the woman to tell me she wasn't there with him. She wasn't. I looked back at him and explained with a carefully worded silent glare that he didn't deserve a response. This is why I always go home before the drunks come out.
He moved in closer, taking a threatening posture over me, but decades of maturity and a week's worth of pent up customer service rage had my back if posing turned to punching. As I continued to ignore him some people who knew him asked why he was always so angry and acting like an asshole. Apparently that is how he passes his free time; drunk and angry. When reason penetrated his teetering amour of alcohol he became an equally annoying, overly-apologetic drunk, thrusting a huge paw toward me and insisting I shake it. He asked my name again, in a more polite manner, and I told him it was Danger. Anger again flashed in his eyes and I played my self-written theme song in my head, letting the low-E string of my Gretsch hollow-body ring out (with a bit of delay, mimicking the sound Sam Phillips employed at Sun Records) as I bent the high-E string to a raw, soulful finale.
As his friends (a term applied loosely here, as I was unable to identify anyone who would cop to being his "friend") calmed him down he noticed my clear plastic cup held only ice and, after another three apology handshakes, he insisted he buy me a drink. He asked what I was drinking and I responded, "Just tell Jen that Danger needs a drink. Oh, and tip her well, you lumbering jackass."
He returned with my drink and the insistence that I shake his hand another eight times in apology, then moved on to spread his goodwill among the other patrons and charm the bartenders with vulgar comments.
Same bar, one week later….
A svelte brunette glides across the side yard and purrs that she saw me that morning at Starbucks, where she had stopped with her mom. She said she knew my name was Danger, as it was written on my cup. Apparently that had become a topic of conversation for them. Doubtful I would have been remembered, or approached, or discussed, as a Kerry. I was surprised to see my name on the cup that morning, as that particular Starbucks seldom uses names and the barista hadn't asked mine when I placed my order. So the barista remembered me as Danger from a past interaction, as well.
So what is in a name? I'm learning; a lot. Fights are diffused. Women are intrigued. Theme songs spring from the creative portion of my mind as quickly as they can be played and committed to memory. Conversations are kick-started. I don't have to repeat and spell my name for someone eight times only to find it is still spelled incorrectly. "No, K it's a K not a T." There is no mystery in spelling "Danger." "Danger, party of four, your table is ready," never results in five people with similar sounding names checking in at the host station. Which reminds me of a comment my loving sister made after I added our names to a waiting list by responding to the host's query with, "Two, outside please, the name is Danger." My sister asked, while sprinkling her voice with a pinch of sarcasm, "Oh, we're doing that now, are we?" Yes, sis', we are.
But my favorite reaction to date is, "Coolest. Name. Ever."
Welcome to the unfolding life of Danger.
*You know Terry Jean Bollette as Hulk Hogan.
**Marion Mitchell Morrison is John Wayne's real name.