I recently sat down with Stanley Burdicks, a Butte, Montana native that has gone by the nickname “The Dude” for the last 23 years. Stanley said he was given the nickname by his friend Arthur while they were attending a Rocking the Rivers Concert and from that moment on the name “The Dude” has defined him as a person. As Stanley puts it “It’s not just a corny nickname, it’s a lifestyle” let’s find out why.
AAIM: So, who is “The Dude?”
Stanley: I am.
AAIM: No, I mean, who is “The Dude?”
Stanley: Well, I guess I’m just a guy like everyone else, but I like to think I’m better in almost every way.
AAIM: So, do you think it is hard being “The Dude”?
Stanley: Well not for me, it comes easy.
AAIM: Why is that?
Stanley: (Laughter) That’s easy, because I’m “The Dude.”
AAIM: (A Chuckle)
Stanley: (More Laughter)
AAIM: Okay, serious though, isn’t it a lot of pressure, being “The Dude”?
Stanley: Not at all, people who feel pressure, feel it because they feel they may fail at something, so being “The Dude,” No, I don’t feel any pressure because I don’t fail. What I feel is more like the “presumption” of success, which I don’t think feels anything like pressure. Can you tell me what pressure feels like so I can know?
AAIM: Uh, well, perhaps it’s a debilitating feeling, like whatever you do is wrong, or that you just can’t do anything right.
Stanley: (Laughs) Then definitely not, because I feel like I am capable of doing all things, even things I have never done before, even things that nobody on this planet has done before. So the answer is NO, I don’t feel pressure….Ever!
AAIM: Wow, really? Are you sure you aren’t just talking a big game?
Stanley: Hell No!
AAIM: Well, let me ask you this, deep down, don’t you ever have the occasional sense of doubt? You know that nagging feeling that something might not go as planned?
AAIM: Are you serious?
Stanley: Next question.
AAIM: Alright then, so how long have you been “The Dude”?
Stanley: Wow, seems like my whole life, but officially it’s been about 23 years.
AAIM: Well that seems like a long time to me.
Stanley: It’s true though, the way I look at it I was born “The Dude” but didn’t really accept it until I was old enough to shoulder the responsibility.
AAIM: So where exactly were you when you realized you are “The Dude”?
Stanley: I was at a Rocking the Rivers Concert with my friend Arthur, Lynyrd Skynyrd started to play “Sweet Home Alabama” and I sang all the words right along with them and Arthur looked at me after it was over and said “Dude, that was bitchin!” and I said “Hell Yeah” then Arthur said “Dude” and it just stuck from there.
AAIM: Well, that sounds like a pretty good story.
Stanley: The best.
AAIM: Alright, so what do you think the hardest part of being “The Dude” is?
Stanley: Nothing…Not a damn thing is difficult about being “The Dude” but once in a while when people go overboard calling me “The Dude” it can get annoying.
AAIM: What do you mean?
Stanley: Well, sometimes punk ass kids will walk behind me and just keep saying “Dude” or “Hey The Dude” or “Dude, you’re a loser” and once in a while women will make fun of me when I tell them that I’m “The Dude” but other than that it’s great.
AAIM: Oh, that sucks, does it hurt emotionally?
Stanley: Does it hurt? You can’t hurt “The Dude” people can say what they want, women can make fun of me and call me pathetic, I don’t care. I truly wouldn’t be “The Dude” if their words could hurt me, now would I? But it does get a bit tiresome, perhaps even boring at times.
AAIM: So you are saying it doesn’t bother you?
Stanley: Well No. I mean, I would like for them all to die a slow painful death. Sometimes I even have dreams about dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire. But No, their words can’t hurt “The Dude.”
AAIM: So let me ask you a weird question, do you think a woman could ever be called “The Dude”?
Stanley: Now that’s an interesting question and I have an interesting answer for you. The truth is “The Dude” is a woman as well as a man.
AAIM: What? Really?
Stanley: I know, I just blew your mind right? It took me awhile to figure this out, and after I saw people getting sued by feminist groups and how we as a society morphed into this “PC” bullshit culture where we have to be careful what words we use and everyone gets a medal crap. So I figured I better get in line with the way things are going and be open to new ideas of equality and fairness.
AAIM: Wow, I don’t even know what to say to that. I figured someone named “The Dude” would think differently about things like this and not buy into that “PC” culture…I’m shocked.
AAIM: (Uneasy Chuckle)
Stanley: (More Laughter)
Stanley: Let me stop you right there nitwit, I was just pulling your leg, of course a woman can’t be “The Dude” I couldn’t give two shits about what is politically correct or what anyone thinks. I was born a man, which means “The Dude” is a man. End of story!
AAIM: Well, I really want to thank you for letting me interview you, it certainly was interesting.
Stanley: Not a problem. Actually, I am glad I got to do it, I have never been interviewed before about being “The Dude” unless you count that time the police interviewed me, but that was about a stolen truck. They had the wrong “Dude” though…Get it? (Laughter)
AAIM: You are “The Dude!”
Stanley: I know.