Handy’s Problems 24th Feb 2010


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Handy’s Problems 24th Feb 2010


Dear Handy,


I hope you can help me. I don’t know who else to talk to…

For the past while, I’ve been the butt of all the jokes. It’s not like I don’t have a sense of humour – I can handle a bit of playful banter and have a laugh, just like anyone else. But it’s gone too far now, it’s getting out of hand. And it’s not just my mates who are taking the mick any more… others have caught on too – it seems like everyone’s at it.

It’s my name, you see – it’s Barry. “What’s wrong with that?” you might ask. Well, there’s nothing really wrong with my name. Up until recently, I was proud to be a Barry, I even heard Al Murray on tv say it was a “beautiful British name”. I was happy being me.

But suddenly, my name has become a joke, an insult even. I am constantly ridiculed and teased. It’s non-stop. When it first started happening, I just used to laugh it off. But now, it’s become relentless. I don’t know how to make people stop.

Changing my name is out of the question, because my wife has ‘Barry 4eva’ tatooed on her shoulder.

Please can you help me? I would be so happy if you could reply on your problem page. It’s really starting to get me down.


Barry Bourbon.




Handy on the way to his "party" (click to enlarge)

Dear Barry,


For God’s sake, of course I can help you, I’m an agony aunt. Fuck me, at least give me an opportunity to like you. I mean, throw me a bone darling. No, not like that Barry, I do have some self respect you know. (at this point Handy, dressed in his velvet smoking jacket, raises his eyebrows and purses his lips as he turns his head to one side slightly, so as to insert the ivory cigarette holder that he had been holding directly in front of him in the corner of his mouth…)


I have to tell you now sweetie, it’s not your name that’s the problem, it’s your attitude. First of all, it is blatantly obvious that barry is not a proper name (a cuss here would just be too easy- what do you take me for?) by the fact that it doesn’t start with a capital letter. Please look at the dictionary definition of barry here -and if Barry really is such a beautiful English name, then why not try brushing up on some basic grammar skills of the beautiful English language, so that in the future you realise that things aren’t necessarily directed at you? 

You seem to take all the talk of barrying personally instead of accepting it as a part of the relentless march of the English language, and a hugely useful word to describe the worrying amount of lightweights in this world.

If you relaxed a bit, then Barry could just be another name with a secondary meaning, like Dick, or Fanny. I mean, do you laugh when hear people with these names? Of course you do, and that’s why acceptance will never be enough for you to deal with this in the coming months and years. You will be needing that sense of humour love.

You see, barry hasn’t just suddenly burst from nowhere, as you seem to think. No, barry has been used on the underground scene for many years to describe lightweights and feats of over-indulgence which lead to hilariously catastrophic consequences. It is inevitable that anything that has hovered in the twilight world of clubs, drugs or depraved sexual practices (preferably all three at the same time) for any length of time will eventually hit the mainstream if it is popular-  and oh, how I’m waiting for some of my interests to be socially accepted! Huh, it’s not like they are a crime you know. Well, in 49 states in the USA they are, but that’s not the point.


What I mean is, you will have to get used to hearing your name mentioned in the same breath as a cuss, although to be honest Barry, it wouldn’t surprise me if you already are. Feel comfortable with who you are, and man up a little bit for Christ’s sake. Think of being called Barry the same way that black people are called “Chalky”, or midgets “Lofty”. I suggest a regimented programme of mash up to improve your stamina, and instead of wallowing in self-pity, you can enjoy the irony of your afflicted name as you party throughout weekends with no sleep at all.




I was very interested to read about your wife’s tattoo, although I have to confess that I am a little confused. You say that it is on her shoulder and reads “Barry 4eva”.  She sounds nasty. Is her name Eva, or has she spelt forever in text speak? Which then leads to the question, was it done deliberately? Did she think that was the correct spelling, or think it trendy to write like that? Either way, it doesn’t make her look good does it? I think I am starting to get a clear, and rather distasteful picture of your married life Barry.


I suggest for your sake that you change your name, and render your wife’s tattoo strangely wrong, yet right at the same time. Her prophecy about the infinite nature of your name was wrong, as you will now be known as Dick, or Fanny. Conversely, and unfortunately for her, Barry will indeed be “4eva” on her shoulder, a reminder forever of your past identity.


At this point you have a choice. Leave her, and start a new life, free from the shackles of your current name. Laugh as she desperately tries to find another Barry so her tattoo remains valid. Or stand by by her and I shall send you the address of my surgeon, Doctor Mugabe, who practices from his portacabin near Ikea in Croydon. He specialises in tattoo removal via laser, and he always puts on a recording of Muck FM shows on to relax you and make you think that the lasers you are seeing are in a banging club, rather than in a tatty portacabin where an under-qualified man is permanently scarring you with a botched surgical procedure.

Still, permanent disfiguration must be preferable to being married to a Barry, or having one permanently hovering near your face, perched on your shoulder like some kind of grotesque barry-parrot. Eugh.

If you want my opinion, and you did- once a Barry always a barry.

Check your grammar darling, take the cuss, and get down the deed poll office.



Handy x



See all problems here



1 comment

  1. Bill Ectric - March 1, 2010 18:20

    Handy is a wise counsellor.


Reply to Bill EctricCancel reply