I really should address this, since I am NOT particularly sneaky or even subtle. I am NOT duplicitous in nature by any stretch of the imagination. As a matter of fact, I tend to think BY speaking (or typing) rather than thinking BEFORE speaking (or typing), which leads people to think I'm unintelligent and/or rude at times. I also have a habit of sharing very personal information with people I barely know. Does that sound sneaky to you? I thought not.
It all started long ago, when I was still in college and an aspiring radio personality. My friend and I were on a weekend trip to run the Bix 7, which is a well-known road (running) race in Davenport, IA. Since we were both broke, we stayed overnight with a friend in Iowa City then drove to Davenport the morning of the race. On the way to Davenport from Iowa City, we passed a sign on the highway that simply read "Sneaky Pete's, 5 miles" (or something like that). The sign bore no explanation of what kind of establishment Sneaky Pete's was. I later learned it was a steak house known for particularly good food.
I fell in love immediately! I told my friend that if I ever got a shot at being a deejay, I was going to call myself Sneaky Pete. He asked me why. I just liked the sound of it. It made me smile. When I got my first full-time radio gig a few years later, I asked my program director about using the moniker. He said "No" and muttered something about losing credibility with the listeners. Of course I thought he was wrong. Credibility? I was a freakin' deejay at a country music station! Would the listeners think I'm going to lie to them and tell them that the last artist they heard was Travis Tritt, NOT Garth Brooks? Geez.
I'm not one to give up that easily, so I waited for my chance to get that name I really wanted. And it finally came when my PD wanted to run a feature called the Monday Night CD Sneak Peek. Since new albums always show up in stores on Tuesdays, we were going to preview a new CD every Monday Night and give the CD away before it could be purchased. In perhaps the sneakiest thing I ever did in my life, I slipped my new moniker in the liner sheets for the next day. (A liner is a short promo that deejays read live on the air.)
This would be a good time to mention that I spent the first few years of my tenure at the radio station being called "rookie," "new guy," "snot-nosed punk," and God knows what else. (I've repressed many of those memories.) Every time I slipped up on the air and someone else caught it, the incident was brought up in a meeting or another public forum at a socially crippling moment. So in order to gain a measure of revenge on the other jocks, the liner copy read as follows: "Be sure to catch the Monday Night CD Sneak Peek with Sneaky Pete Michaels tonight at 8:00! This Monday, Sneaky Pete will be previewing..." This tongue twister violated everything I learned in college about writing copy for the spoken word, but it was my only shot at getting the moniker I REALLY wanted. And I had a feeling there would be an added bonus to my little scheme.
Try to imagine my glee while I listened to the station all day at home the next day. (I worked the evening shift, so I usually didn't get into the office until 3:00 pm.) Every one of those seasoned radio professionals repeatedly stumbled and tripped over the words in that liner! It was beautiful! Who's the snot-nosed punk, rookie, new guy NOW?
The PD tried to stop the other jocks from using the name "Sneaky Pete" on the air, but the station manager heard it and said he liked the ring of it, so he vetoed the PD. Victory was mine! I guess it's rather appropriate that the sneakiest trick I ever pulled was to get the name Sneaky Pete into my professional radio name. By the way, the PD hung around for the beginning of my air shift to hear if *I* could even read what I had written. I nailed it. I still can to this day, even though I've been out of radio since 1998.
From then on, I was known as Sneaky Pete. Not only did the station manager love the name, the listeners really took to it as well. My friends (most of whom did not listen to country music) also fell in love with the name, and began introducing me to people as Sneaky Pete. Even most of the country artists I met liked the sound of the name. I still use the name in dart league (when I'm actually on a team), when I karaoke, and whenever I'm on-line. And it still makes me smile.
Some people still ask me why I use a name that could possibly inspire mistrust in others. Come on. How sneaky can I really be if I call myself "sneaky?" Or could it be that I'm so incredibly sneaky that duping folks is just too easy unless I make things harder on myself by announcing to the world that I am, in fact, sneaky?
Nah. I just like the sound of it...