You may be wondering, “Okay, just who is the bloke behind this blog? And what’s with all the ‘rodent’ this and ‘rodent’ that?”
Good questions. I’m delighted you asked!
I’ll deal with the easy question first. My full name is Richard Alan Tatum. Look at the initials: RAT.
No, my parents didn’t have a cruel sense of humor. God does — my name is just a happy coincidence! (At least, according to dear Mom and Dad.) As to why the “Rodent?” When I was a teenager I wanted to be different (like all my friends) so I contrived a scribbled “logo” or a “tag” for my signature so that I would be set apart and instantly recognized — since I hadn’t found acclaim or distinction any other way. (That’s also why I taught myself how to juggle: to get noticed and impress the chicks. But that never worked, and that’s a whole different blog entry!)
Anyhow, over the years, the scribble stuck. So, when it came time to set up a website I wanted a way to differentiate the names of stuff I worked on from all the rest of the cruft out there online. I first used my initials in things like the Word macro I created to display typeface samples. I called it “TypeRat,” and it still lives under that name. But when I went to create a website, it dawned on me that “rat” wasn’t very euphonious and carried negative connotations besides. So, I summarily decided on “rodent.”
After all, you can love an adorable furry little rodent, but nobody wants a rat for a friend.
After TypeRodent came ChurchRodent, my mini-glossary of church history (still one of the biggest traffic generators on this website). Then came WordRodent, a sometimes out-of-date word lookup tool hosted here. And the name really stuck at that point. (Or, rather, I was trapped.) When it was time to name my blog, I tried all kinds of really clever things — snarky names; names revealing my brilliant, scintillating, dizzying intellect; obscure names; biblical-sounding names; and plain ones. Alas, good names were as scarce as brains that night.
So, I went to my fall-back position and punted. Ergo: BlogRodent.
(One nice little benefit from this idiosyncrasy is exactly that: it’s unique. I’ve never run across anything else that routinely adds “rodent” as a suffix to create new terms. So, whenever I ego-surf Google or other search engines, looking for sites that link to me, I’m invariably rewarded with relevant search results, not endless page after page of other dudes sharing my birth name.)
I am regularly active in two or three email discussion groups: AOGDialog, Assembly-of-God, and AOG@associate.com. Google me (on blogs, the Web, or in Usenet news) and you’ll find out even more about my views and positions.
I finally started this blog because I realized I was writing volumes about what I believed and thought in these email fora, but I wasn’t capturing anything where it could help anybody long-term. Plus, I just wanted to be more intentional about my writing and sharpen my thinking some more. I hope this weblog is a good contribution and is helpful to you, because it already has been for me. I’m often wrong and I need the iron-sharpening that good dialog brings about — I hope those of you who comment take me to the woodshed now and then to set me straight.
Just be gentle, please.
Sunday, November 13, 2005