I had to change my email again.

You probably noticed, presuming you actually got it. My name appears as “JD” now. 

It helped this get through a lot more company firewalls last week. Even Gmail has become a more vigilant Dick-blocker lately.      

For the record, I’d have a few choice words for the person in the 1880s who first used the word Dick in its phallic connotation, if they weren’t a military veteran. Thank you for your service, sir. 

It wasn’t until the 1960s that the word became slang for a loathsome person. Philologists aren’t really sure who to credit for that lovely achievement, but whoever it was, they’re kind of a dick if you ask me.

If your nickname is Dick, via Richard, you can thank some English wanker from the 13th century for that. Little did they know it would stick for 800 years. Anyway, you don’t have a right to complain. Call yourself Rich or Ricky, for God’s sake. You have much better options.

Thankfully, our kids have options. It might end up being the only reason Noelle ever gets married. 

Maddie embraces it a bit more, the humor of it anyway. You can find her kicking around campus in Ann Arbor donning a “Don’t Be a Dick” T-shirt from time to time, reveling in an ironic joke most passersby don’t get.

But it’s only a matter of time for her too. Last summer, we had the pleasure of spending an evening with Billy Porter, who was generous enough to talk to Maddie for hours about all things Broadway. At the end of the night, I asked him if he thought she would need to change her stage name. He didn’t even think about it. “Oh honey, absolutely.” 

With no other boys in our family, that will eventually leave me as the last Dick standing. Entire generations of my progeny will never know the joys of a pizza delivery never arriving because the person who took the order thought it was a prank. Not that anyone picks up the phone to order food anymore, I guess. That’s beside the point.

So, here I am, changing my name too. Just so more of you have a better chance of getting a lousy email to accompany your Saturday morning coffee. My dad is rolling over in his grave.

The things I do for you people…

Here’s what we’re seeing:

Gas prices suck right now. This used to be the kind of thing that would grab economic headlines, but the dizzying rate of job reports, inflation news, and all the other distractions have turned pain at the pump into little more than white noise. Or maybe we’re desperately clinging to our rose-colored glasses. In any event, Americans are more concerned about rising fuel costs than they have been all year. Expect the consequences to show up on the roadways in a couple of weeks. Intent to travel long distances for Labor Day has plummeted compared to this time last year.

Maybe if Baby Boomers cared more about mental health, younger generations wouldn’t have to care so much. In our 3 Things to Know this week, we looked at the factors deterring U.S. adults from seeking mental health services. For respondents aged 55 and older, by far the most common reason given (44% of respondents) was that they don’t believe it’s helpful. Millennials and Xers were the most likely to blame cost. We also looked at distrust in aid organizations following the Maui wildfire and the (significant) trepidation people have about driverless taxis. 

People care about musicians’ values – just not as much as they care about brands’. That Oliver Anthony dude picked up where Jason Aldean left off, bouncing to the top of the music charts on a tribal trampoline. It’s a great strategy, as 1 in 5 Americans say it’s “very important” a musician’s beliefs and lyrical content align with their values. Fifty-nine percent say it’s at least “somewhat important.” Interestingly, the numbers are almost dead even by Party ID. Contrast that with our similar question about brands: 67% of adults say brands’ social positions are at least somewhat important in determining what they buy, but it skews much higher among Democrats. 

Pandemic-borne dining habits die hard. Like many people, we made a concerted effort to order takeout as often as we could during lockdown to support the restaurants in our neighborhood. Combine that with the growth of app-based delivery and the NASA-quality logistical magic of McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A’s drive-thru apparatus, and it’s never been more appealing to eat restaurant food without leaving your house (or car). In fact, restaurant-goers are 3X more likely to say they’re dining in (versus taking out) less than they did before COVID. The age breaks might not be what you’d expect.   

I’m totally going to need glasses after I write this. I’ve probably never mentioned this, which is kind of a big deal because I pretty much share my entire life in this thing, but I don’t wear glasses or contacts. I can’t remember the last time I went to the eye doctor (although my PCP gives them a once-over). It’s not that unusual – 25% of U.S. adults don’t wear corrective lenses of any kind and 20% haven’t had an eye exam in the last two years. So I learned a lot from this study. Like, lots of people get their eyes checked at big-box retailers, and tons of people wear “blue light” glasses to fend off screen fatigue. I know it’s only a matter of time until I need readers to see restaurant menus. But I’m not there yet. 

More awesomeness from the InsightStore™:

The most popular questions this week:

Answer Key: Not a big science fiction fan, so I abstain; Absolutely; No, it’s all or nothing for me; Many times; Maybe 2 – I don’t remember my dreams very often.

Hoping you’re well.


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