The No. 1 question I get, no matter where I go: What does "J.J." stand for?
My pat reply: "J.J. stands for truth, justice and the American way!"
It's a groaner, but effective.
Can't folks just accept that "J.J." is my first name? It's not a nickname ... it's my name-name. (If the J's represented anything really interesting, wouldn't I use that name instead?)
People ask if it is short for "J. Jonah Jameson," the editor of the Daily Bugle in the Spider-Man comics.
No, it's not. But I am proud that my name represents two famous cartoon editors -- J. Jonah and Superman's boss at the Daily Planet, Perry White.
Even when I was a kid, I loved to see my name in print. I always thought it looked good, short, with periods and spaces. Memorable, without being too specific -- "J.J. Perry" doesn't hint at age, or gender, or race. A perfect pen name! (My picture with this column sort of gives away all of those secrets.)
I have taken on a few nicknames in my life: For some reason, "J-Squared" caught on with a few people. So did "Two J's." Get it?
The first time I met the woman who would someday become my mother-in-law, she called me "Jay."
The one I hear the most is "Double J." Many have called me that, but I would say the person who popularized it is my friend, Piney Woods.
You read that right.
In my younger days, I played music in bar bands, and co-hosted a radio program: "The Piney Woods Blues Party," with the man himself, Piney Woods. An exceptional singer, guitarist, songwriter and all-around showman.
Piney would hit the mics and holler, "Whaddaya got for me Double J!" I would try to cue up something hot -- and try to keep up.
As you might have guessed, "Piney Woods" is not his real name. I won't reveal his secret identity here (that Superman thing again), but Piney once told me, "Double J, the only guy who calls me [redacted] is my dad and the guy who signs my checks!"
Back in those days -- my college years -- it wasn't unusual for folks to have pseudonyms, whether they were musicians or not.
I had a great friend in college named "Beth" -- or as he was sometimes designated, "Guy Beth." Beth had a very normal, day-to-day sort of name. The way I heard the story told, Beth had a girlfriend really named Beth. When they broke up, Girl Beth refused to return Guy Beth's stuff. So, in a fit of spite, he took her name.
Three of my friends in our dormitory -- Sadie, Jasmine and Bailey -- shared a much more basic name, I would learn: Jennifer.
I don't recall that any of the three Jennifers ever went by Jennifer. I'm not even sure they all were friends. It was just a coincidence that they all ended up with the memorable names. They should have clued in all of our other friends: Jenn R., Jenny R., the other Jenn R.
Bailey got her name, she told me, because of her resemblance to "Bailey Quarters," a character on the '70s TV show "WKRP in Cincinnati."
Sadie got her name when she was introduced to someone in the dorm courtyard. He had apparently met one too many Jennifers that week, and said, "I am not going to call you Jennifer; your name is Sadie." And that's what stuck.
What was his name? Bahb. Short for Rahbert, I guess? Anyway, he picked that one himself, too. Too many Bobs.
For years I have looked for license plate magnets at gift shops on vacation for any sign of a "Bahb." Alas, there are no souvenirs for kids named "Bahb."
Editor's note: Some names may have been changed in this story to protect the guilty.
Contact Detroit Lakes Tribune Editor J.J. Perry at 218-844-1466, email@example.com or follow @jjperry on Twitter.