First, let me apologize to all of you. In addition to our usual “controlled chaos” in our daily lives, we had a computer crash. Apparently, something to do with the RAM going bad. Anyways, I want to thank all of you who helped my wife with the diagnosis, and thanks to the Apple Store, we are back up and running. One disaster averted for sure. We have learned the hard way in the past that if you don’t back up the stuff that you want, it can be gone in flash. Pictures, notes, bookmarks, etc. Call me old school, but that is why I still like paper backups for the real important stuff, and I still like photographs. The only thing getting those items are a fire, and I can prevent that way easier than I can the computer crash.
A quick update on the cooking vs blogging scoreboard would indicate that it is a blowout. So much so that we have started eating out again with a bit more frequency. Visited a couple of our old haunts like Hot N Juicy for seafood, Geisha House for the steak cooked right in front of you, and Grimaldi’s is always a favorite for pizza. Anyways, we have to get to writing and try to get this thing back to respectability.
With a few of my previous posts, it was pointed out to me that I may have been throwing people under the bus. By no means is that my purpose. I am just telling stories and writing them for entertainment purposes, plain and simple. It is the theme of the BULLSHIT blog to just tell it like it is, and that is what we are trying to do. I will take all suggestions under advisement, and like I always say, please feel free to comment and start a discussion.
So this entry is going to be about names. And not just our names that our parents gave to us. I mean the names that we call each other. Nicknames, shortened versions of our real names, altered versions of our last names, and who knows what else. There are endless possibilities, and I just want to touch on a few.
Ever since I can remember, I have been coming up with fun names for people. I think it comes from playing sports from a very young age and reading about sports and the various nicknames for legends of the past. The Babe, Pee Wee, The Duke, Broadway Joe, etc are just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t know about you, but I have been shortening people’s names forever. It’s either first syllable or just use the letters. Tony is “tone” or “TC”. I have a “Big Dog”, a “Dougie Fresh” and a “Smoke” in my own family. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but it’s just another example of what simple creatures we really are on a daily basis.
After college, I played in a weekly card game with a very eclectic group of guys. Every Sunday night, we would gather in the basement of the barber shop or the back room of a bar and play cards. If you had a great night, you might leave up $70, and it was very hard to lose that. It was a game called “oh hell”, and it couldn’t be missed. I nicknamed the weekly meeting “kindergarten” because it was 6-8 guys ranging from 25-50 years old, getting together and acting like kids. Non stop laughter, occasional bickering, but always fun. The roster included Moses, Rub, Shoop, Guy (pronounced GEE), the Hat, the Rat, Killer, Bomber, Tooney and myself. Sometimes, the Beak would come by and drop off pizzas from his pizza shop. These were the guys that nicknamed one of my brothers “the Head” because, yep, you guessed it, he has a big head.
That is what we do, especially with people we know. In college, we had a “Skinny” because he wasn’t. We had a “Norm” because who didn’t love Norm from Cheers. The guy with the last name Ham is “Hammer” but that is easy. Speaking of easy, we added a “y” or “ie” or “o” at the end to make Dan “Dan-o” or Steve “Stevie” just because. That was like calling the biggest guy on the team “Tiny” or the slowest guy on the team “Turtle”. And heaven forbid somebody mispronounce a guy’s name because that became what we called him forever or until we came up with something else.
The reason I felt like writing about names, pet names, nicknames and other monikers is for what I just observed in my last few weeks at work. As you may or may not know, I work in a race and sports book in Las Vegas. That means I am front and center with the public on a daily basis. During March Madness, there are people from all over the United States and Canada here for the first two weeks of the NCAA tournament. This may be their only trip of the year here, but it is usually a guys trip. They come every year to meet, hang out, party, gamble and have fun doing it. One group I talked to was in their 19th consecutive year of doing this. Hell, I used to do it before I moved here, and we called it “Clownfest” because we all came and acted like clowns. No BULLSHIT, just plain old, innocent, blowout fun for a few days.
So, in the sports book, it’s mostly testosterone, unlike my ocean of estrogen at home. Guys being guys, and for these couple weeks in March, the locals are overrun by the tourists. The regulars have the lingo down and it’s like a language of it’s own. The visitors have their own thing going, but at times, they try too hard to fit in. And it is pretty funny at times. You never know what you will hear. From your friends, you come to expect it. But, from complete strangers, it makes me laugh.
In the past two weeks, I have been referred to as “Bro, Brah, Coump, Bald Guy, Young Man, Old Man, Homie, My Friend, My Man, Herman, Partner, Pardner, The Guy on the End, Prime Time, Jerk Off, Know it All, East Coast Guy, Cool Breeze”, and these are just the ones I know about. My man Angelo the bus driver who comes in to do a $5 parlay after he drops kids off at school surprised me this week. He is a 5’4″ African American gentleman in his 50s who is beyond nice and leaves me a $1 tip everyday he comes in for typing his bet, despite the fact that I have never seen him cash one of his six teamers. Anyways, he goes to another window to get his bet in because I was typing Old Man Tony’s horse bets, and from a distance, we make eye contact and he yells out “GOOM-BA” (My first GOOM-BA!) We smile at each other and exchange fists in the air from 30 feet away.
But, the best was a kid who was maybe 25 years old from who knows where. He is at the counter, just banging out parlay after parlay for $5 each, and he has NO chance of hitting any of them. You just know. At the end of what felt like 20 minutes at the window, he goes “Thanks, home slice.” HOME SLICE?? I had nothing. I am a grown man and I just got called home slice. No BULLSHIT. I just started laughing. If any of you have any good nicknames, please leave them in the comments below.