No, I’m not crazy. This is a fact that one of my sons, a licensed clinical social worker, and Jeffrey Klein, one of the more successful shrinks in Baltimore and the half-dozen or so psychologist who works for me at the U.S. Army Human Research Laboratory will all attest to.

The “DOC” part is real. I graduated from Caltech with the following degrees:

  • Engineering BS (with honors),
  • Aeronautics MS,
  • Aeronautics Ae. E., and
  • Aeronautics PhD.

Today the marketing expert and popular author Roger C Parker questioned the use of this nom de plume. I listen to him and if you are an author or marketer, you could not do better than to listen to him also.

I started this blog site using that name. Until I can modify my WordPress software you should know that “CrazyDocCummings” has a back story. I hope when you read the story you will understand why I am fond of that nickname.

The Back Story

Much of the time that I worked for the Army I worked with the Army Special Operations Forces. The people I worked with were usually younger than I. On several occasions, I followed one of the rules I was taught as a young engineer: that you test potentially dangerous designs before putting them into service. In the  situations that face the SOF changing missions meant that the only choice was for me to be the test dummy. These young noncoms were shocked to see a guy 10 years their senior taking dangerous risks.

On one occasion I was driving a vehicle across the big Island in Hawaii on an unimproved, un-banked and winding mountain gravel road. In the front seat with me was a colonel, in the backseat there were two Special Forces sergeants. I believed the situation to be urgent because we had just learned that at another site a young Captain was conducting demolition training in a way that violated all good sense about the safety of his men. I felt we had to get there before something disastrous happened.

As a result at times I was hitting 95 miles per hour. The Colonel in the front seat next to me had tightened his seatbelt and scooted down in his seat. I heard a sound from the backseat and looked in the rearview mirror. I saw both sergeants putting on their helmets. Nonetheless, knowing that I was a very skilled driver, I continued with the pedal to the metal.

We arrived at the test site with screeching tires and a cloud of dust. We discovered that the young Captain had taken five noncoms with him down to the test site where he was attaching det-wires to the 3 pound explosive charge. I won’t go into details about why that is dangerous, but it is.  Basic safety rules say that when training anybody about explosives you never expose more than two trainees to a risky situation.

The Colonel bailed out of the car and screamed at the Capt. “Stop what you’re doing, and get your ass back here”. Meanwhile one of the sergeants was talking to another enlisted man who was asking the sergeant “How in hell did you get here so fast?” The sergeant replied, “Shit, it was easy, CrazyDocCummings was driving!”

And so, the nom de plume was born. That nickname stayed with me for another 15 years.

3 Responses to “CrazyDocCummings”?

  1. Dear Ben:
    A beautiful story–thank you.

    And, thanks for your kind words!


  2. Hilary Petit says:

    Yeah, that sounds about right…!

    Way to go, Dad. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, even if it scares the passengers.

  3. Laird Cummings says:

    Years later, and in an entirely different service, doing something absolutely and utterly different (though still in uniform), I was asked by Special-Operations type if I were related to CrazyDocCummings. I think that was the only time I ever impressed him, when I said ‘Yes.’

    The legend lives on!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *