Thursday, September 4, 2014

A rose by any other name...

Naming names
As many of you know, Mrs. Miniver
may be one of my favorite flicks. A
savory dose of cinematic schmaltz,
it chronicles an English family as they
adapt to war. Early on the bumbling
stationmaster names a hybrid rose after
Mrs. Miniver (Greer Garson). Can one
imagine a more flattering tribute? Well
having a moniker like "Greer" rather
than sharing a name with the masses
just might be better! In a world where
it's tough to stand out - having a handle
that's yours alone is truly special!
Love lines
Whatever happened to nick names?
In the old days everybody had some
sort of an extra handle. My parents
both fondly referred to each other
by alternative monikers. Ethel was
"Babe" (as in the venerable Paley)
and Howard was "Mugsy." On the
other hand I was always just "Greg"
except after doing something quite
disagreeable whereupon my identifier
reverted to it's more formal version
"Gregory." Somehow I never felt as
special as somebody with a nickname.
Wise guy
At 96, Frank's father is a living link to
the past. With a mind like a steel trap,
he rarely forgets anything or anybody.
As we've been restoring the Passion Pit,
I've poured myself into it's long history.
Given our home was once an apartment
building for over fifty years, it seems
that almost everyone knows someone
who lived under our roof at some time.
Whenever I discover a new resident,
I immediately ask Dad about them and
inevitably, he recalls them by a unique
handle. Did everyone have a nickname?
Truth or dare
For example - rather pedestrian Frank
Smith transformed into "Two Belly
Smith" whereas wife Winifred went
by "Winkie." Two Belly was a mail
carrier of extreme girth hence an alter
handle that recognized said expanded
waistline. Winifred was known to be
quite a classy lady - could said élan
have solicited a plethora of winks? A
rather loquacious local lad was given
the boyhood moniker of "Kissy." Years
later nobody was surprised that he was
gay. I'll let one of you figure that out...
Freshly squeezed
I've rarely gone by a nickname except
for one period of my professional life.
You see my boss and I shared the same
name. To avoid confusion, one of us
had to go by an alternative description.
Given I was the newer and more lowly
associate - I opted to utilize a name one
of my children had given me - "Juicy."
You may wonder how I came upon that
nickname. Well, I often autograph my
correspondence with a "GEC." One of
my sons saw it and asked who "Juicy"
was. And so I became "The Juice."
Wild ones
Actually I must admit that for most of
my adult life I've been called "Fox" by
my dearest buddy "T." In fact we both
address each other with the same name.
Initially it was cool but today it most
definitely dates us. You see, with said
handle comes our feeble attempts at a
Czech accent a la Mr. Steve Martin and
Mr. Dan Aykroyd as the wild and crazy
Festrunk brothers. I guess there's still
hope for this decrepit disco diva duo.
Let's hope that there's at least one more
wild and crazy night left in these foxes!
Two timer
As previously disclosed, I seem to
be suffering from a "man-o-pause."
Try as I might, apparently my body
thermometer has only two settings -
hot and cold. Hence it's rare that I'm
comfortable given I'm either boiling
or freezing. Rather than adjust the
thermostat to satisfy my climatic
challenges, Frank has opted to give
me a new nickname. Yesterday he
decreed that from here forward I am
now "Two Temp Clark." Thank God
that somehow I escaped "Two Belly!"