I always wanted to have a nickname. Something that had to do with an experience, or perhaps from not being able to pronounce my name correctly as a child, or even something wildly nonsensical that had nothing to do with anything. Like Crime Dog.
In the grand scheme of things, Crime Dog isn't bad (for those not in the know, it refers to MacGruff, the bloodhound in the trenchcoat who encouraged kids on Saturday morning to 'Take a Bite Out of Crime'), though slightly bizarre. It's better than being referred to as Three-Finger or Stumpy. Plus it shortens easily to 'Dog.' As in, 'Dog, you can carve the turkey' or 'Hurry Dog, cut the red wire. No no, the red one!'
But that's just the thing about nicknames: you don't decide if you get one; someone else does. And though most baseball nicknames derive from the player's last name, I would bet that Crime Dog was the product of nickname evolution. You don't just wake up one morning with a nickname epiphany (unless your name is Shaquille O'Neal).
So unless I become a gangster, a character on a TV show, or join a baseball team, I'm resigned to spend my life as Ben. Not Piano Legs or Baby Face. Just Ben. Only, simply Ben.
I guess it could be worse. At least I won't be called Steve Urkel for the rest of my life.