Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: Old commenting system produced some jokes, but not worth going back

September 27, 2013 

As we enter a new era of online commenting here at the Ledger-Enquirer, I'd like to recognize my favorite anonymous comment.

It happened months ago, after I'd written about something that made somebody mad. Maybe it was test scores or poverty or whitewater or Little League baseball. I forget.

It's not unusual for me to make people mad. But usually, one person disagrees with a point I've made and then another person questions another point and then there's a bit of back-and-forth before somebody calls me a moron and we're finished.

On this day, however, the first commenter went ahead and called me a moron. I think his exact words were "Dimon, you're a moron." What else was there to say?

The morning in cyberspace passed in silence. Finally, somebody offered this gem: "You can't trust somebody with a hyphenated name."

I laughed.

In fact, I quote that anonymous genius today. If my wife questions whether I'm going to remember to walk the dog or pick up a child from school or do some other errand she's assigned me, I respond by saying, "I don't know. You can't trust somebody with a hyphenated name."

My wife has the same hyphenated name too. A lot of people assume that I took her last name and she took my last name. The idea of any man agreeing to this bothers a lot of men.

It bothered one of my commanders when I was in the Army. During my first week in his unit, he strolled up and started making small talk. I remember he was tossing a baseball from hand to hand, and joking around like he was one of the guys.

But suddenly he stopped tossing the ball and looked me square in the eyes and said, "Kendrick-Holmes, how'd you get that hyphenated name?"

I told him the story.

When my dad was born, his parents gave him their last name, which was Kendrick.

My dad's father died when he was a boy, and his mother later married a man named Holmes. You can probably see where this is going.

When my dad was a teen, his mother died and he and his brother were adopted by their stepfather, who wanted them to take his last name. I mean, if he was going to raise two teenage boys, he wanted to get credit for it, right?

But my dad and his brother wanted to keep their real father's name, so their stepfather, who was something of an expert on British history and culture, suggested they go with a hyphenated name and they did.

I explained all of that to my Army boss. He nodded sternly.

"You can stay," he said.

When I looked puzzled, he told me that he once had an officer in his unit who'd added his wife's name to his own. It didn't work out.

But my stint in the Army worked out because my boss decided I had the right kind of hyphenated last name.

Not everybody is so understanding.

I remember when I was in homeroom in seventh grade. Coach Vaught had just taken roll and we had some time to kill. One of my classmates started making fun of my hyphenated last name, so I told him how I got it.

My classmate stopped making fun of my hyphenated last name and started making fun of the fact that all my grandparents were dead.

Hilarious.

And now that I think of it, our old anonymous commenting system is a lot like junior high school. It was good for a few funny stories, but I sure don't want to go back.

Contact Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, at dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.com

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