How I got the nickname King Sheep is a funny story.
For one reason or another, I’ve had lots of nicknames. Maybe people with longer names start with one step down this path. If there are two Williams in a group, one is likely to become Bill. My Dad was Jim or James, Mom was Sue or Susan, my brother was Chris or Christopher, and I’m Pat or Patrick.
On my lifelong list of nicknames, each has their own amusing story:
- Patrice (my cursive handwriting is sloppy and my ‘K’ looks like an ‘E,’ which I discovered after receiving a magazine subscription addressed to Patrice Johnson)
- PDJ1 (I am Patrick Darren Johnson the First. I doubt there will be a 2nd, but sometimes nicknames suck, I mean stick. Sorry, nicknames stick.)
- Pojay (I once joked about my Irish lineage and called myself Patrick O’Johnson, which somehow got shortened to Pojay).
- Patticus (not sure how this one happened, but “when in Rome…”).
- Pat-Man (just because).
And then there’s King Sheep. The origin of the name traces back to my freshmen year in college at Washington State University. It was a frightening time, away from home, meeting new people, trying to make friends. As it is intended to do, I met a lot of people through my dorm playing pool, eating greasy food, and watching TV. Slowly, a group of friends emerged.
Nicknames were any easy way to remember everybody. For example, there were two guys named “Chris,” who became soccer Chris and evil Chris. There were two guys name “Mike,” one was tall Mike and the other was just Mike. Unsatisfied, they later changed their nicknames to Chaos and Mayhem. They even made matching hats.
For a long while, I was close friends with Chaos and a guy named Nate Taylor. I was unnicknamed at the time, as was Nate. One day we were lazily watching TV, waiting for something better to come along. There were no ideas on the table, but we all joked that we were “Pro-plan,” meaning that if someone came up with an idea, the rest would follow.
So, I started throwing out ideas. Long story short, pretty soon we were making dummies out of old newspapers and older clothes. We traveled around campus with our newspaper buddies and joked how they were total sheep and would follow us anywhere. We eventually left them at a bus stop. As the creator of the plan, I volunteered myself as King Sheep. My first royal act was to proclaim Nate as a Major Sheep, which he didn’t seem to mind. Mike trumped us both by calling himself the Sheep Dog.
King Sheep started as an inside joke, but it stuck. Too bad it’s not a great nickname. First, I self-selected it, which breaks the unspoken rules of nicknaming. Second, it clashes how I see myself (a.k.a. it makes me sound like a pompous jerk). Third, I’m not royalty. Forth, I’ve eaten more sheep than I’ve led. Fifth and finally, no one calls me King Sheep. It’s only a nickname on paper. It’s only redeeming quality is it sounds cool, which is why (years later) it became a sticker.