“Why do your friends call you dog dirt my dear ?” his mother asked one day while some of us “friends” were stood on his doorstep waiting for him to come outside
“I don’t know mother” he said whilst polishing his black NHS glasses, ready for the fray that awaited him once he’d ventured out to play football with us.
Truth is, it just fitted.
Dog Dirt Davidson was his name, a scrawny kid with curly mousy blond hair and black NHS glasses, insignificant in his own way the only feature that made him noticeable to us all was that he spoke in a posh voice and he didn’t have a father, he was one of two boys in our form of 30 who did not have a father and in those long distant but halcyon days not having a father was a thing of note, something that made you stand out among your peers, “You’re a bastard” the constant refrain usually answered by “No, I had a father, but now I don’t, its different to being a bastard”, it was unusual to us, we picked on it.
We picked on the differences because thats what all kids did and still do, as adults we like to demonise such behaviour as bullying, in truth we never saw it as bullying, it was name calling and if you weren’t calling someone like Dog Dirt Davidson names then it would be you who had had an innocuous feature picked out for name calling.
There is a story that one day Dog Dirt Davidson had returned to school from “going home for lunch” – that was another thing that made some kids stand out, the ones who “went home for lunch” or the ones who “brought sandwiches for lunch” – with dog dirt on his shoes, hence the name. I like the story but the truth is, “Dog Dirt Davidson” just sang out as a name, its a brilliant name, as long as its not your name.
A long time after we had left school I was visiting a customer’s premise’s and being escorted down a long corridor by my host when towards me came Dog Dirt Davidson, unmistakable still with curly mousey coloured hair cut in a foppish style and the distinctive black NHS glasses, “oh my god its Dog Dirt Davidson” I involuntarily blurted, my host turned to me and laughed a little, “Do you know him ?” he asked and I tried to be polite and pretend that I hadn’t said anything as Dog Dirt Davidson passed in the corridor without acknowledging me, but my host had heard me correctly and he was still chuckling for the name was still a perfect moniker for Dog Dirt Davidson and I suspect that not long after that everyone in the company was using the title for him in a way that he thought he’d left behind at school a long time ago.