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I was served in a shop by a young man called Rodney. This is not a complaint. He didn’t poke me in the eye or anything.

But I came to wonder how it was that this young man came to be known as Rodney. He was around 19 to 20 years old, which places his birth firmly in the period when Only Fools And Horses was the biggest show on British television. One would have expected the name Rodney, associated at that time very much with plonkerdom, to have been declared off-limits, in much the same way as Adolf lost a lot of its popularity around 1940.

I can just about accept Rodney being foisted on the child as a middle name to honour a dead relative, but as a first name? That’s cruelty beyond measure. Why not go the whole hog and call him Marigold, Smelly or Gaylord? I find it difficult to imagine the circumstances which would lead to somebody in 1990 naming their son Rodney.

EXT. STREET – DAY

SARKY KAREN PUSHES A PRAM DOWN THE ROAD, ITS PRECIOUS CARGO GURGLING WITH DELIGHT AT BEING ALIVE IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL.

SHE IS MET BY AUDREY, AN OLD FRIEND OF HER MOTHER.

AUDREY
Goodness me, it’s Sarky Karen. I’m an old friend of your mother.

KAREN
Are you really, Audrey? Gosh, because it’s not like we’ve met on many occasions. Often accompanied by my mother.

AUDREY
And, oh, you’ve got a little baby.

KAREN
You’ve noticed the pram? Well done, you.

AUDREY
Ooh, and what have you called your lovely new baby?

KAREN
“Ooh, and what have you called your lovely new baby?” We’ve called our lovely new baby Rodney.

AUDREY
Rodney?

KAREN
Let me just check.

SHE LOOKS IN THE PRAM.

KAREN
Yes, it’s definitely Rodney.

AUDREY
Oh, Karen, you are a one, with your sarcasm. It’s a good job I don’t take it to heart.

KAREN
What do you mean?

AUDREY
What’s his real name?

KAREN
Rodney.

AUDREY
Go on.

KAREN
His bloody name is Rodney.

AUDREY
Sarky Karen, have you ever heard of a TV programme called Only Fools And Horses?

KAREN
Durr, no. I’m only the life president of the Nicholas Lyndhurst Fan Club, established 1978 in the wake of his regular appearances of Butterflies, and surviving even through “The Two Of Us,” which was rubbish. I’ve got posters, mugs, VHS video tapes – and, by the way, if only somebody would invent a type of compact disc you can put video on. In short, I bloody love the man. Look!

SHE PULLS OPEN HER JACKET TO REVEAL A T-SHIRT SPORTING THE FACE OF TV’S NICHOLAS LYNDHURST.

AUDREY
But everybody will call him a plonker, for the rest of his life.

KAREN
Look! I wanted to name my son after my hero. Is that so wrong?

AUDREY
Why didn’t you call him Nicholas?

KAREN
Bugger.

END.

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