Secret Origins

Recently, I asked for suggestions for topics over on the Facebook page "Fans of the Alphageek". So far, there has only been one suggestion: what is the origin of the name Fred Warwick? Exactly who is Fred Warwick, and why has he never been seen around the Alphageek? Why does the Alphageek have an email address with Fred Warwick in it? Will the real Fred Warwick please stand up?

Before letting you in on the secrets of the mythical Fred Warwick, I just wanted to make make a few other comments.

If a taxi ever showed up at your house in the middle of the night, honking its horn, I am sorry about that.

If your house ever had a "For Sale" sign in front of it, I am sorry. Whoever put the ten or so "For Sale" signs in front of the Senior Alphageek's house when I was home from college one time, I just wanted to tell you that was pretty funny.

This story goes way back, all the way back to the dawn of time. Okay, maybe not that far, but 7th grade. When I was in the 7th grade, we were required to take some sort of vocational training. I don't think some of my teachers believed me when I told them I was going to Virginia Tech and be an engineer, so they tried to make us learn a skill. That's okay, being right all these years later is what makes the Alphageek. The class I ended up in was Agriculture. I figured I could always grow stuff later in life, if the engineer thing did not work out. or plant a nice garden on the weekends. I don't remember the class extremely well, but we did take welding. I am not really sure about the connection between welding and agriculture, but all these years later I do know that spattering is caused when arc welding with too much current.

One day, our teacher was absent. At that time, it did not occur to me that teachers are real people and might need to take some time off from work, or get sick. So we had a very nice substitute teacher one day.

For some reason, there were tunnels beneath our agriculture classroom. I don't think that was a good idea. I understand that our old middle school is closed and a new one has been opened. That was probably a good move because bad stuff was probably going on down there, in those dark recesses under the school. Someone in the classroom decided that while the substitute was there would be a good time to lift up the trap door and jump down there and see what was in the tunnel. So a fellow student went down there and disappeared. At the same time, someone shouted that the sub was coming back. The door was slammed over the tunnel and a chair placed over it. That probably would have kept the guys out of trouble, but the guy still in the tunnel was not pleased that his return route was now blocked. He decided that he would express his frustration by beating on the now closed door.

The teacher then noticed that someone's chair was bouncing up and down. (At this moment, it occurs to me that the people in my class who became teachers are pretty brave. They went into teaching knowing stuff like this happens. ) (Imagine, my Wahoo friend actually wants to teach. I wonder if this story will change her mind. Probably not. ) The teacher asked what was going on, but the chair just kept bouncing up and down, so he walked over to the student and noticed that the floor under the chair was moving too. The sub asked, and then demanded that the student stand up.

After the student stood up, the door popped up and another student emerged. The sub asked the student's name and the student replied "Fred Herpal" This was not the student's name, as the laughing from the class probably indicated to the sub. At this point, I think the student was "written up".

Ordinarily, this event would probably be forgotten, except that it made quite an impression on me. Being the analyst that I am, I thought that have a fake name ready would be a good idea. Sort of a play on the "do you know who I am? No? Thank goodness." kind of thing. I decided to make up a fake name, in case I ever needed it. I decided that the Fred Herpal story would probably get around to the teachers, so it was out. I selected Fred in honor of the previous attempt. I am sorry to say I don't remember where Warwick came from.

I started using Fred Warwick in jokes, adding him to student lists and things like that through the rest of school. I think I tried to fill out paperwork for him when one of the classes did the "find a friend" thing, which was a thinly veiled computer dating service. I think at some point he may have actually had a class with me for a while. I am pretty sure that several substitute teachers heard the name once or twice. I heard that he got a birthday greeting on a radio station one time, but I had nothing to do with that one. He became an adopted non-person among the people who knew me.

Years later, I needed another email address, so I selected Fred Warwick as one of them, making this the longest running joke that I have participated in.

So there you have it, part infantile humor, part analytical decision. I will let the reader decide Why not post a reply right here on the web site, and feed back your thoughts?