Published: Sunday, December 20, 1998
STAR TRIBUNE Edition: METRO
Section: NEWS
Page#: 43A

At last, the Rands have their day

Will the Vikings finally win the Super Bowl this year? Everyone has an opinion. Listen to radio call-in shows. Log on to www.nfl.com. Ask any checkout clerk. They'll all tell you the Vikes have a "really good chance." But only 8,581 Minnesotans know with absolute certainty that this is the Vikings' year of destiny.

 Only 8,581 of us have lived under a dark cloud all our lives, have slowly grown through this suffering, and have now emerged into the bright sunlight of a new day, a new era, a new millennium. Yes, we are the Randys, the Randalls and the Randles of Minnesota. And with four Viking stars proudly bearing our names this year, our day has finally arrived!

If your name is Randy, Randall, Randolph, Randol, or Randle (let's just call ourselves the "Rands"), you'll already know what I mean. But for the 4.6 million non-Rands in Minnesota, let me share the personal pain and public humiliation we have endured through the years.

Kermit the Frog claims, "It's not easy being green." But I want you to know that it's really, really not easy being Randy. My personal journey of anguish and torment has four key milestones.

The first milestone came when my fifth-grade teacher assigned a report about the significance of our first name. That night I asked my parents where my name came from. They shrugged and said, "We just kind of liked it."

When I looked up the name's meaning, I learned "Randall is a Germanic name meaning shield wolf."

What the heck is a shield wolf? Needless to say, my teacher did not display my report on the bulletin board.

My second revelation occurred while traveling in England as a college student. As an outgoing and friendly American, I wanted to impress the English students I met. I'd walk up to them confidently, look them in the eye, thrust out my right hand, and say, "Hi, I'm Randy." The English students would giggle, blush and turn away. Finally, someone took pity on me and pointed out that "randy" means "lustful, lecherous, horny"—as in "randy as an old goat."

My third tragic rendezvous with fate came in the workplace, during an employer-sponsored "empowerment session." As a warm-up exercise, we were each asked to stand and share our deepest feelings about our name. Colleague after colleague stood up and told poignant stories about grandparents, biblical saints and ethnic heroes. As each person sat down, our feelings toward them were warm, fuzzy and friendly. Then it was my turn. Even the facilitator pitied me by the time I sat down.

By now, you probably think I'm paranoid. But I'm not making this up, and I'm not alone. Ask any Rand.

I've checked list after list, book after book, for a significant namesake: The 42 U.S. presidents. The 100-plus Supreme Court justices. Time's "20 Great Business Titans of the 20th Century." The entire King James Version of the Bible. Not a single Randy or Randall anywhere!

I've tested my suspicions by perusing government databases. According to the 1990 census, 1 out of every 250 American males has a first name of Randy or Randall. But in 1996, according to the Social Security Administration, only 1 out of 1,000 newborn boys was given one of these names. The unpopular name is becoming even more unpopular.

Until now.

Thanks to Randy Moss, Randall Cunningham, Randall McDaniel and John Randle, our days of living in the shadow of Davids, Michaels and Jacobs are over. We have overcome! This is my fourth and final milestonewhere the path of self-discovery bursts into sunlight and the music swells.

Just consider the odds of four "Rands," all from my home team, making the Pro Bowl in the same year. A quick calculation reveals the odds as 1 in 60 million. Chris Carter (the "X-Files" producer, not the Vikings wide receiver) would never consider a plot so outlandish. Yet it is happening. Clearly this is the team of destiny.

For all of us Rands, we've waited our whole lives for this moment. And once the moment passes, it won't return for another 60 million years. So to celebrate and recognize this miraculous season, we have three specific suggestions:

On Inauguration Day, Gov.-elect Jesse (The Body/Mind) Ventura ought to change his name yet againto Jesse (The Randy) Ventura.

The Vikings ought to give free playoff tickets to any Minnesotans named Randy, Randall or Randle. We'll all sit in the same section; we'll call it the VeRANDah.

The Star Tribune, which gave us the "Homer Hanky" for the Twins' championship seasons, ought to unveil the "Randana"a bright purple cloth emblazoned with the numbers 84, 7, 64 and 93. Fans will wildly wave the Randana whenever one of the four Rands makes a great play (in other words, almost every play).

If these three suggestions are implemented, wethe 8,581 modest Minnesotans who are finally proud to call ourselves Randy and Randallwill personally guarantee a Vikings victory on Jan. 31, 1999.

—Randy (Randall) Wedin, a science writer and father of four boys, lives in Wayzata. He is also a grateful member of RA (Rands Anonymous).

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