My boss, Gary Hatch, teaches an Independent Study course. Yesterday I was mindlessly slipping papers into an envelope to mail to one of his students when I realized that this particular student's name was, get this, Sedgwyn Thigpen.
Stay with me. So I asked my boss about him, and he said that Sedgwyn had written an essay about his experience being an acclaimed high school football player. (Are you still with me? He's a high school football player. His name is Sedgwyn Thigpen.) He may or may not have been nicknamed "the Duke." While in high school, he didn't take school very seriously. He went to college (to play ball we assume), and while in college, he returned to his home town. There, at some community event, a kid came up to him and said that his father had told him to come and talk to Sedgwyn (Thigpen), because, you know, he was "the Duke."
At this point, Sedgwyn had a moment of stark realization. He was not just Sedgwyn Thigpen, acclaimed local football hero. He was Sedgwyn Thigpen, "the Duke." He was the Duke, and he'd better act like it. Take school more seriously, treat cats with more respect, not kick women.
Thus enters "the Duke" into my vocabulary:
That poster can be the Duke.
That interview you gave could make you the Duke--or it could be the Duke itself.
Each of us, in our own way, is sometimes the Duke.
Your mom is the Duke.
(Are you seeing the possibilities here?)
Thus, I would like to publicly thank Sedgwyn Thigpen, both for his name (which is so great I want to immemorialize it in a short story) and for his story.
It has changed my life and my vocabulary. At least this week.
P.S. (And I'd like to apologize for any myo-privacy infarction I may have induced.)