Too Many (Generic) Daves?

sneetch1And besides all that,…

Being comfortable with answering to the handle “Brother Dave” can come in handy when there are just too many other Daves ’round and about.

From Kindergarten and on through to the 2nd month of 4th grade, I attended a small school in a small town. And the class in which I was a student was — as you might have already guessed — small, too: 40 kids or so, half of whom were girls and half of whom were boys. And out of the 20 boys in my class, three others and myself were each named Dave. That’s what? Twenty percent of all the males in our sample population were imbued with the quality of Dave-ness! Whew!

Then, after my having completed the 1st month of the 4th grade at that small school, my family moved to a place 25 miles away and into a new school district. And so, from the beginning of the 2nd month of the 4th grade and on through to graduation from high school, I attended another small school in another small town. And again, the class in which I was a student was small, too: 40 kids or so (initially, at least), half of whom were girls and half of whom were boys. And out of the 20 boys in my class, two others and myself were each named Dave. That’s what? Fifteen percent of all the male students in our sample population! Deja whew all over again! (One of the Daves moved away ’round about 6th grade or so. But it wasn’t long at all until, through consolidation of our small school with an even smaller school, another Dave was re-districted into our class, thus filling the role of requisite other ‘nother Dave. Nature, it seems, abhors a Dave vacuum.)

With numbers like that, if you were a non-Dave classmate who, say, happened to pull on Little Susie’s ponytail when her back was turned, you could falsely proclaim your innocence and credibly lay the blame on Dave, one or more of whom could statistically be expected to be within striking distance. (Little Susie would not have bought the Cheech and Chong catch phrase, “Dave’s not here, man.” In her world, Daves were downright ubiquitous, man. Still, even if she had been totally oblivious and/or extremely gullible, those were simpler and slower, pre-Cheechian and pre-Chongian times. So there, man.)

As Dr. Seuss once pointed out, sometimes there can be just Too Many Daves.

Too Many Daves
From “The Sneetches and Other Stories”
by Dr. Seuss

Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
Had twenty-three sons and she named them all Dave?

Well, she did. And that wasn’t a smart thing to do.
You see, when she wants one and calls out, “Yoo-Hoo!
Come into the house, Dave!” she doesn’t get one.
All twenty-three Daves of hers come on the run!

This makes things quite difficult at the McCaves’
As you can imagine, with so many Daves.
And often she wishes that, when they were born,
She had named one of them Bodkin Van Horn.
And one of them Hoos-Foos. And one of them Snimm.
And one of them Hot-Shot. And one Sunny Jim.
And one of them Shadrack. And one of them Blinkey.
And one of them Stuffy. And one of them Stinkey.
Another one Putt-Putt. Another one Moon Face.
Another one Marvin O’Gravel Balloon Face.
And one of them Ziggy. And one Soggy Muff.
One Buffalo Bill. And one Biffalo Buff.
And one of them Sneepy. And one Weepy Weed.
And one Paris Garters. And one Harris Tweed.
And one of them Sir Michael Carmichael Zutt.
And one of them Oliver Boliver Butt.
And one of them Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate…

But she didn’t do it. And now it’s too late.

Now, if I counted correctly, there are 23 non-Dave names that poor, frazzled Mrs. McCave often wished she’d originally christened her 23 Daves. Why, that would have left her with no Daves at all! Can you imagine that!? Talk about dreaming the impossible dream! I mean, she had more sons than there were boys in my classes at two different schools. And comparison shows us that, with a sample that size, Mrs. McCave should have expected that at least 3 of her sons would be named Dave. Again: Nature, quite naturally, abhors a Dave vacuum. (And not that it would make any real difference, I guess, after the fact and all: But it seems to me that Mrs. McCave might have more appropriately daydreamed about having discovered a safe and reliable method of birth control some 20-or-so Daves ago.)

When teachers at my first school would need to clearly differentiate between which Dave was being addressed and which ones were not, besides making eye-contact or pointing or using other bits of body language (vocabulary and syntax), they would also typically resort to including surnames. So they would call on Dave Wilson or Dave Thomas or Dave Some-Surname-I-Can’t-Remember-Right-Now or me, Dave Lister. Hotcha! Then, at my second school and under similar circumstances, teachers there would also resort to naming surnames. And so they would call on Dave Cash or Dave McCammack (or, later, Dave Walton — after Nature, in her infinite and inscrutable wisdom, decreed that he fill the vacancy left by the vacated Dave McCammack) or me again, Dave Lister.

Ah, but this tactic of calling out a Christian name followed by its familial surname, too, still would’ve been a completely pointless exercise for our harried Mrs. McCave, wouldn’t it? Jeez.

And in the McCave case, using the nickname “Brother Dave” wouldn’t have helped either. (However, data-mining his way into a nest of 23 [Count ’em, 23!] Brother Daves certainly would give BIG BROTHER reason enough to suspect some sort of potential conspiracy and to bookmark their website, if indeed the Brother Daves have one, for regularly scheduled surveillance monitoring.)

And so it goes.

And so I go. TTFN.

— Brother “Just Another One of Sometimes Too Damned Many Daves” Dave

PS: The surname of the Dave with “Some-Surname-I-[Couldn’t]-Remember-Right-[Then]” was Turner, I believe. Sorry for the temporary memory lapse, Dave Turner. Sorry. But (in the Baby Boom generation, at least) there really are just too damned many Daves to remember sometimes, generic or otherwise. — BD

PPS: Not long after I wrote and posted the above reflections on the abundance of Daves in this country, a hypertext link leading to a name database popped up on the Cool Web Sites page on this, my own way-cool site. The database is called ( “David” ranked # 5 in the 1950s and # 2 in the 1960s (second only to “Michael”). (Interestingly, there is even a separate chart for the name “Dave.” I don’t know if that data represents a count of only persons having “Dave” officially-listed on their birth certificates, or if some percentage of persons legally-named “David” but nicknamed “Dave” is also included in this count. Go figure.) So, how is your own name rated by the NameVoyager, Pilgrim? Check it out. — BD

PPPS: Through a bit of Web-surfing serendipity, I discovered an unintentionally-humorous vintage magazine ad in which a spurned housewife is pleading with her cloistered (Hermit?) husband named (What else?) Dave. While tugging melodramatically at the doorknob of what one assumes to be an unyielding bedroom or bathroom door, the distraught woman is quoted as begging her withdrawn mate, “Please, Dave .. Please don’t let me be locked out from you!” The ad is a cautionary tale of how true love can be lost, or at least put in serious jeopardy, due to (What else?) less-than-Spring-fresh female naughty parts. Now, if you’re a woman who has, yourself, lost your life’s one true love due to the heartbreak of skanky cooter, well, I can surely understand if you don’t find the ad to be the least bit amusing. But, hey, if — and statistically, of course, this is much more likely the case — you’re just another guy named Dave, I hope you find the ad to be as entertaining and educational as I found it to be. “Educational, too?” you ask? Why, yes! I mean, if you’re like me, Dave, you probably only thought of Lysol® as being something for disinfecting toilets, floors, countertops, and such. But, to learn that Lysol® also makes for a great douche, too… Well, that’s Edutainment! Check it out. (Personally, I’d think Listerine® would be a better make-shift douche than Lysol®. Guess that shows how little I know about feminine hygiene and suitable substitutes for regular feminine hygiene products.) (I mean, if, say, his friend Penny Parker suddenly found herself in dire need of one, what would MacGyver use to create an ingenious douche substitute? …Hey, I wonder about these things. Okay?) — Bro. Dave “Don’t Call Me Listerine!” Lister

Dylan_Hears_A_WhoPPPPS: Hey, how ’bout a musical rendition of Dr. Seuss’ Too Many Daves? I recently stumbled upon a website called Dylan Hears A Who. It purports to feature an album produced by Bob Dylan in the mid-1960s, a vinyl LP phonograph record upon which he supposedly sings 7 (Count ’em, 7!) Seuss poems that he set to music, stylistically similar to other mid-Sixties Dylanesque works. Too Many Daves is the fifth song in the playlist. Go ahead: double-click, listen. Why, you can even download all the songs, plus all album art for both a CD and its jewel case, so you can freely recreate your own copy of the complete album. What a deal! (Yeah, yeah, I know it’s not really Brother Bob singing Seuss here. But, Dylan Hears A Who is an excellent, well-crafted parody. The songs are rendered with a very reasonable similar facsimile of Dylan’s mid-Nineteen-Sixties vocal and guitar stylings, and the addition of vinyl surface noise nicely supports the illusion. The artwork for the album is a wonderful, authentic-looking recreation of an aged pop artifact, with faux liner notes that mimic Dylan’s Tarantula-era surrealism. Hotcha! Delving into the fine print, one comes to understand that the album was actually created by a person, or persons, going by the name Eye-Berried Pall. [And yeah, yeah, I get that too. So, goo goo a’ joob, goo goo a’ joo.] The EBP site is at So there!) — Brother Dave

PPPPPS: Well, it had been a while since I’d last visited the aforementioned Dylan Hears A Who website. So, after copying the above text from this website to a new Spaces blog page, I performed new test-clicks on the hypertext links to both the Dylan Hears A Who and sites. At the former website, instead of the fun parody stuff I’d seen on previous visits, there was only this message: “At the request of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., this site has been retired. Thanks for your interest.” Then, at the latter website, the image for the Dylan/Who site was X-ed out. Bummer. But so it goes. — Brother Dave

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