The internet went crazy last week when the Tampa Bay Times published an obituary for David “Pervert Dave” Cummings — and with good reason. His nickname is hilarious and the short obit left its origin unexplained, leaving the (probably sordid) details of Pervert Dave’s life to the imagination.
The incredible attention garnered by the obit inspired the paper to take a deeper look into the life of Pervert Dave this week, and the results are far more interesting, fun, and tragic than expected.
Pervert Dave’s life had a little bit of everything, including more than a few brushes with death, multiple murders, and more fun nicknames. Some important highlights (emphasis mine):
Trained as an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force, he claimed to have been aboard three planes that were shot down in Vietnam. He was honorably discharged in 1970 for a character disorder, the details of which are not known. He suffered from post-traumatic stress.
Over a 13-month period in the late 1980s, Mr. Cummings killed two people. One was a guy known as Wheelchair Skip, an amputee roommate in Inglis he shot six times during an argument over money.
Did “Wheelchair Skip” have it coming? Probably.
He claimed self-defense in the shooting death of Furman W. Toney III, the amputee who had his own violent history. (Six months earlier, Toney had fired a sawed-off shotgun at an imaginary intruder, instead hitting a 5-year-old girl in the face; she was not seriously injured.)
Only a story about Pervert Dave and Wheelchair Skip could include an anecdote about a five-year-old girl getting shot in the face and walking it off.
So, what about that other murder?
He was also charged with driving under the influence manslaughter when a woman who was riding with him died after Mr. Cummings slammed into a tree.
Nothing too bold there, just your run-of-the-mill, completely avoidable tragedy. Somehow, Pervert Dave killed a woman and it was the least interesting thing that ever happened to him.
Can we get to the origin of the Pervert Dave nickname?
Though he never had children, he married at least three times, including a short-lived marriage to a 17-year-old when he was 32. (While this seems to be a potential source for Pervert, friends say he was given the name much earlier in life.)
Yeah, that couldn’t be it.
As for the nickname everybody wants to know about, Baker said, “It’s just something he came back with from Vietnam. It was just a nickname given to him.”
It’s disappointing that we’ll never get to the bottom of the “Pervert Dave” handle, but not at all surprising. There’s probably a very good reason Dave covered its origin in secrecy. A man isn’t just given “Pervert” as a nickname — he earns it.