On the high holy feast day of Star Wars nerds across the country — and even non-nerds who get the "May the Fourth Be With You" joke — a surgical tech at a hospital here is acknowledging his name's connection to the dark side.
His last name is Williamson, a bespectacled, stout man, 39 years old in hospital scrubs with a radiating smile that conflicts with a first name usually associated with evil.
Williamson. Darthvader Williamson.
No, really. That's his name. Its right there on his St. Francis Hospital-Bartlett ID badge.
"And it's on my birth certificate," he said.
Born in Texas, the story goes that his mother wanted to name him Junior after his father, Anthony Lee Williamson. But dad was a bit of a Star Wars fan and liked Darth Vader so much he suggested the name.
In the stupor of anesthesia, "She's like: 'Yeah. OK. Fine,' " Williamson recounted.
Then as she came to her senses and realized what happened, she had second thoughts. Williamson's father said it would be OK, that it was a cool name for their son.
"It's just stuck. It's always been Darthvader," WIlliamson said.
Introductions become immediate conversation starters after the wide-eyed, quizzical looks that come when he gives his name, sometimes even just saying "Darth." People have asked for his autograph, to have their picture taken with them, even requests for Williamson to attend Star Wars movie openings with them, so they can say, "Darthvader went to see the new Star Wars movie with me."
The name on his driver's license has gotten him out of traffic tickets, and he says it got him a 4% reduction on a credit card rate.
"It has its good and bad points," he said, adding that it's kind of nice to have the name of "an intergalactic badass."
Williamson works with the hospital’s robots and technology, but doesn't have the Dark Side characteristics of his namesake. He relishes working in the hospital, says he enjoys the teamwork and likes "giving people a better quality of life."
"There are just so many different aspects that I actually love about doing this," he said of his job.
As for any connection to Star Wars brand, well, he hasn't seen any of the movies since Return of the Jedi. Despite having a number of tattoos, he has no black helmet ink or other reference to the galaxy far, far away.
But Darth Vader has to be his favorite character, right? After all, he was named for the heavy-breathing, black-clad character with the helmet and the voice of James Earl Jones.
"Actually, my favorite character is the bounty hunter, Boba Fett," he said with a hearty laugh.
Follow Clay Bailey on Twitter: @claybailey9
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