One of the things I’d really like to sort out prior to this trip is my trail name, which seems, from my reading, to be such an important item on the trail that it would be foolish to leave it until the last minute. God forbid that I leave it until I’m actually on my way, as I could find myself at the mercies of my fellow hikers, who may bestow such gems as “Midnight Pooper” or “Snoring Bear” on me for my tendencies in either direction.
As a consequence, and without irony, I need to explain why I feel the need to introduce myself as “King.” This isn’t about self-aggrandizement, nor about ego in any way, though it has something from my wife, from my profession and from my original country, so it may be more appropriate than it may first seem.
The first, and most important reason, is that it is my wife, Diane’s, choice. She is the one who has cleared the decks for me to have this adventure, she is my biggest supporter and will be stocking me up with food via mail drops and the occasional visit. She has always wanted to give me the name since I told her how I got it originally.
Back in 2009, when I was setting up my insurance agency here in Florida, I had passed the requisite exams for P&C business (homeowners, auto etc), but I had a bit of time to kill prior to starting my agency. Consequently, I thought I’d use that time to get my life and health licenses, just in case I decided to develop them.
I attended classes in Florida and, as a rather mature student, I didn’t actually speak to any of the other students until our instructor, a self-named “Southern Cracker”, called David, asked me a question. Giving the answer, I was aware of a sudden shift in the room as everybody turned to me, clearly the only Brit in the room. “You sound like the King,” he shouted. He didn’t seem to mind that the Brits hadn’t actually had a king for over half a century, nor that my accent couldn’t conceivably be called king-like. Fellow Brits will tell you that the Southend accent is a long way down the scale when it comes to comparisons of accents in the UK. Nonetheless, I was King for the rest of the course and even referred to as such by my fellow students.
So, King it is, though I’m aware that I’ll likely have to explain it every time I meet somebody on the trail if I’m not to be regarded as an arrogant Brit which, of course, I probably am.