They Call Me Saint Peter

2005-04-27

How I got my nick.

Several people have asked me recently how I got the nickname "stpeter", so I figured I'd record the story here for all time.

My nick has nothing to do with Simon Peter, the "rock" on whom Jesus said he would build his church (and the first Pope), nor is it meant in any kind of anti-Catholic or anti-Christian sense (although I am post-Catholic and a quasi-Gnostic non-believer, I'm not a militant atheist or crusading anti-Christian by any means). No, its origins are a bit more prosaic. When I worked at IBM's Watson Research Center in my last year of high school and first year of college, the head of the materials science lab in which I worked was Jerry Woodall. Because there was already another guy named Peter working in the same lab, Jerry took to calling me "saint peter" - a fairly natural combination of "Saint-Andre" (my last name) and "Peter" (my first name). A few years later I wrote a somewhat racy blues song using that idea, entitled Gatekeeper Blues (one of these days I'll record it, but it's something of a cross between "Steamroller" by James Taylor and "Doctor Professor Longhair" by New Orleans piano guru Professor Longhair). When I first got involved with the Jabber community back in late 1999, we held daily discussions using IRC (no groupchat back then!) and of course the first thing you have to do when firing up an IRC client is to choose a nick, so I fatefully typed in "stpeter". Little did I know that years later most people I work with would call me stpeter (or, sometimes, psa). Certainly the nick was never intended to confer any special status on me (as in "the patron saint of Jabber") or make me out to be some kind of pope-like figure in the Jabber community, it was a just a fun thing that Jerry came up with so that he could differentiate me from that other Peter in the lab.

Now you know!


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