25 January 2009

You Can Call Me Anything You Like, But My Name Is 'Turkey Sandwich Guy'

Lefty.
Ace.
Gonzo.
Dorkfish.
Rocco.

What was your nickname? When I was little, I always really, really wanted a nickname. Something cool, something that people would hear and go, “Whoa, here comes Ironman! dude, watch out!” Early on, at least, I thought my nickname was Damnitboy, as in “Damnitboywould yougetyerfeetoutofthetoilet! Or “Damnitboystoptryingtogetthehamstertofly!” I even took to giving myself nicknames to try them out.

“Name’s Meatball.”
“What?”
“Meatball, it’s my name.”
“Uh, yeah whatever, weirdo. Now leave me alone.”

“Keyhole, call me Keyhole.”
“Why? How ‘bout Butthole?”

Needless to say, it took me quite a long time to realize that nicknames, with rare exception, are bestowed by others and not self-generated. Hardly anyone is going to take it seriously if they find out you named yourself ‘Aceman’ or ‘Studsy’. So for the longest time I contented myself with the occasional ‘Sparky’ or ‘Monsterman’ tossed out by my friends. It happened sporadically, and nothing ever really stuck. I was a little disappointed, because I really wanted that nickname. But still, ‘Sparky’ was better than the ‘Fuckface’ or ‘Dumbshit’ that seemed to be heaped in large doses on a lot of the other guys I hung out with. There was no way a nickname like that was going to end up in the high school yearbook. Can you imagine, next to a goofy picture?

Most Likely To Be Hit By A Trash Truck – Denny ‘Fuckface’ Johnson

Not something I would care to carry for posterity. So during my high school years, I tried to keep a low profile, and hope that one day, that special “Name” would crop up by sheer chance. I went without one for years, no good name, but no embarrassing one either. It wasn’t until my junior year that opportunity knocked, in the form of a chance to select my own nickname, for real. Yippee!

I was on the varsity soccer team, and we had a coach who was a nice guy, but no one would have ever confused him with a disciplinarian. Actually, I guess he was more like an easy-going surfer dude. We practiced, but it wasn’t exactly high impact training. Anyway, when it came time to order our team jerseys, he told us that we could all select the number AND the name we wanted on the back.* The only caveat was that the coach would get to review the names before the jerseys went made. Now, what would you expect a group of teenaged boys to do when presented with such an opportunity? Exactly. No one selected a number based on their position. And out of about sixteen players on the team, only about six actually chose their real name. So who was on the team?

‘Bugsy’
‘Gondar’
‘Captain Death’

and yours truly:

‘Mr. Carbonic’, fullback, Number 26.

‘Numbnuts’ and ‘Shithead’ did not make the cut, they had to come up with something else. So that entire season, I told everyone that ‘Mr. Carbonic’ was my nom de futebol. Sort of like ‘Pele’, but without the mad skillz. Or the fame. Or a snowball’s chance in hell of making the United States National Mens’ Soccer Team. And I wasn’t black.**

‘Mr. Carbonic’ lasted only season, although I kept the jersey for years until it fell apart. It was a good conversation piece at parties, until someone pointed out to me that only a true dork would wear a soccer shirt to a party.*** The next year, we had a new coach and he WAS what you would call a disciplinarian. I went from being ‘Mr. Carbonic’ to being ‘11’. No name, just 11.****

After the Carbonic era ended, I then entered into a brief nickname drought. I went to college, and no one there would have gotten the Mr. Carbonic thing. Plus it took me a while to build up some new friendships, more time to get to know people well enough and long enough to come up with nicknames. I am proud to say that by the end of my sophomore year, I had not one but two, count ‘em TWO nicknames, with at least one sub-nickname. I was affectionately known as:

‘Kevvie-bob’
‘Kevvie Fresh’

and on party nights,

‘MC Kevvie Fresh’

Can I get a whut, whut!? I was back, baby! Now you are probably wondering how they came about, how I got those names. Well, the simple answer is: I have no freakin’ clue. It was a very organic thing, they sort of gradually worked their way into daily usage. I really can’t explain the ‘MC’ reference because I wasn’t nearly the stylin’ music maven I am now.***** No one was really going to confuse me with Grandmaster Flash or Young MC. I guess it was because Mc just sounded really funny when combined with Kevvie Fresh.

I proudly sported my nicknames until graduation, when once again big life changes found me married, in a new state, and employed. The group I had been a part of was dispersed and no one knew who the heck ‘Kevvie Fresh’ was, nor would they have cared. This time the nickname drought lasted a lot longer. The workplace wasn’t studio, and the Man doesn’t care that you really wanted to be called ‘Tiny’ or ‘Humpty’. Something was missing.

I grew sad.

So it was for a few more years, having to answer entirely to my given name. I got used to it, but frankly, it was boring. I like my name, but it was cool having an alternate identity, something that only friends and family would likely know. I began to worry that I was destined to have no nickname. This continued for quite some time, until one day me and some of my cubicle mates hatched a plan, over a delish lunch of Thai food, to dub everyone in our department with a nickname. So everyone ended up with a nickname whether they wanted it or not. Of course, these names were entirely at the whim of the core group, and they were given for reasons known only to us. My nickname ended up being:

‘Hammer’

Oh, happy day! Now that was a nickname! ‘Hammer’. Manly, implying action and decisiveness. Getting things done. At least that was the public definition. Really, I think it was because I was a hard-headed tool. Still, I liked it. It gave me an aura of cool. Our departmental secretary even printed out large nametags that we stuck to our cubicle walls with velcro dots. From that day on, if anyone was looking for me, they were told to “Go see the Hammer.” Heh, heh. My days as ‘The Hammer’ lasted about two years, the remainder of my employment time at that particular company. I moved on, the group dispersed, and I entered the “Long Winter”, a period of about ten years where I had no new moniker. Back to Kevin, just Kevin. I began to put my dreams of nickname immortality behind me. I figured it was all part of being an adult. Sigh.

The last office I worked in was located nearby to a really good diner, within easy walking distance. This diner offers a lot of really good eats like a super grilled cheese with ham, chicken stew and French fries with gravy (a Balwmer treat!). The owner and his wife, and the waitresses are all a real nice bunch of folks, and I became quite familiar to them. I ended up eating there at least once a week, for a long stretch of months. The one thing I ended up eating exclusively, because it was so good, was the turkey club sandwich with a glass of iced tea. This is a 3-decker with BACON (mmm) and it is the best turkey club sandwich I think I have ever had. It was like Turkey Club Prime. The prototype of turkey club sandwiches. The block from which all others were chipped. It isn’t fancy, it’s not on artisan bread or dabbed with “tomato aioli with capers” or anything like that. It’s just real good.

I mentioned that I ate it exclusively. Just how exclusively I found out one day, when I grabbed a paper and a booth. I said hi to the waitress as I sat down, and she gave me a glass of tea. A few minutes later, she brought me the sandwich. I was digging in with gusto when it hit me:

She hadn’t asked me for my order, not the drink, nor the sandwich.

I was in good, yo! Sort of like Norm on “Cheers” but with a sandwich instead of a beer. Awesome! And truth be told, I didn’t mind at all. That sort of service actually saved me some time on some busy days, less waiting.

When I was laid off, besides the obvious upset, I realized I was going to miss my semi-weekly visits to the diner. It didn’t occur to me that the folks at the diner might miss me. This came to light earlier this week, when I received an e-mail from one of my friends who is still at the firm I left. She had gone to the diner with another friend from the office, and the waitress asked about the “turkey sandwich guy”; apparently they do miss me. It’s a cool thing to be missed, even in such a small way. I was touched. The icing on the cake (or gravy on the fries)? I think I may have a new nickname.

I’m not just Kevin anymore, I’m ‘Turkey Sandwich Guy’. “T-Guy” for short. Boo-yahhh!

EPILOGUE
It doesn’t stop there, though. In all fairness, I have also picked up some worthy monikers from the many on-line friends I have made during my early blogging adventures. These are names that also arose organically, through time and circumstance. Names like this:

‘Irish’
‘Mr. Irish’ (Many thanks to Braja for the touch of dignity!)

And one that is good for a giggle:

‘Gumby’

These are the many facets of me, and I display them with pride. I am named!


*Anyone who has coached and/or played organized sports will immediately see the flaws in that approach. Funny, but anarchic.
**To this day, I still lack mad skillz, the fame, and the national team spot. And I’m still not black.
***This perhaps explains my lack of ‘play’ in those days, uknowwhudImsane?
****Which led to a lot of “These go to 11” wisecracks. Still not much ‘play’, though.
*****Stylin’ = transferred most of my CD’s to my iPod.

49 comments:

  1. How about Senor Irish, for some multiculturalism?
    Sorry about not being black, btw.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I also have been fairly free of nicknames throughout my life (aside from being named Nick which is my name. Aha ha). There has been a notable exception, though....

    Now, when I get hot, I'm an extremely sweaty man (bear with me , I'm going somewhere with this). I've inherited this from both sides of my family so no escape there. When out drinking in corwded, hot bars with a few separate groups of friends, they have (completely independent of each other) decided that my baldy head would make a perfect saltlick to accompany shots of tequila. Yes, it is revolting but that's what tequila does to people.

    So, for a little while, the name "Salt Lick" stuck (we also have many Nicks within our social group so need a system). This culminated in my mate's rugby-themed stag-do in France at which we were presented with personalised rugby shirts - yes, mine has "Salt Lick" emblazoned across the back.

    Anna Russell on here calls me "Mr The Fella" and I quite like that one.

    I've also had two people on separate occasions in different places lean out of moving cars and shout, "Baldy!" at me. Thanks, guys, I hand't spotted. Where would I be without that kind of insight?

    (That was a bit of a mammoth comment. Sorry about that.)

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  3. Hi- I came over from Confessions of a Desperate Housewife.
    I hate nicknames, even though I have given them to my husband and kids.
    My Hawiian Pineapple
    JEDI
    Boo, aka Duckie
    I was known as Twinkie in highschool, which couldn't have been good since I was friends with mostly perverts. It took me all 4 years to figure out it meant. (Little slow)

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  4. How about this one?

    McIrish.

    Great post. I can relate. I never had the cool nicknames though, mine were more the insulting type like:

    -Dolt
    -Dweeb
    -Stick
    and of course:
    Idiot

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  5. I like Gumby - it's a great nickname!!

    Mine? Not so glamorous, but OK. I'm a Bostonian living in the midwest. It's across the board - doesn't matter which group of friends I'm in, it always comes down to


    "Hey, BOSTON"...

    I'll take it. :)

    My other was Westy. Guess what my last name is. :)

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  6. Gumbtastic post, Mr. Irish. But not Kevin in real life, right?
    Because it totally fits for me that you would be called Kevin (tho probably not for Kathy/Boston up above).
    Hope your Sunday is nice and relaxing.

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  7. Oooh I like Gumby. You could totally put that on a soccer jersey!

    My nicknames included 'Dirty Commie' and 'That Damn Expat'. Needless to say, I embraced them.

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  8. I truly enjoyed this post, it has reminded me of some of the nicknames I have had and some I still carry with me.
    My father nicknamed me with several, missy messy monster, pissy missy or missy pissy. Which unfortunately pissy missy has carried on throughout my life.

    The fun ones are the ones which come from my children, my middle child nicknamed me "Chubby Cheeks" I'll take it.

    By the way I like Mr. Irish

    Melissa

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  9. Ha, I remember in Elementary school wanting a nickname too, badly, it seemed like everyone cool had one. Ha, thats so funny.

    The only name that ever stuck for me was Rachaelpachel. It wasn't very glamorous so I didn't love it.

    But now I use it everywhere, I embrace it! LOL

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  10. You poor guy! No nickname as a kid huh? My family is huge on nicknames. Our kids are Shorty, Chewie, Skittles and Bean.

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  11. Did I ever tell you that I love you?
    I swear, I am totally a self-absorbed blogger and I rarely get really interested in other people's blogs, but when I do read a post of yours, I am generally delighted. I'm gonna give you TWO nicknames today, because your gumbo is so delicious....Thank you Chef. And if I'm feeling extra amorous, I'll call you Kevvie Delight. xoxox

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ah, nicknames.. such fun.

    My brother, Kevin, had a few growing up.. My parents had wanted to name him 'Duffy' but feared teasing - so it became a family nickname instead. In high school, he was known as 'Marlin' (last name) during his jock days, and then 'Door' by friends in band ('Hey Kevin, you make a better door than window!').. as kids, he was also known as 'StoppitKevin' at home.. because that's what they constantly heard me saying.

    Me? I had a few.. Mimi, which morphed into Memers.. and later Megamouth. I never really had any in high school.. I was kind of 'the invisible girl' if anything. Now, anyone online (and some who I've met in real life) know me primarily as ChurchPunkMom, which is just very fitting. My husband likes to refer to me as Hot Wife.. which just makes me laugh at him. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've had a few nicknames over the years -

    TurboBitch, Kat/Kitten, Cookie, Brass Girl, Trumpet Girl and "That bitch that'll clean your clock with a trombone mouthpiece if you breathe wrong around her" - all from high school.

    and my all-time favorite -- Thumper.

    Those are just my favorites, and the ones that have stuck the longest -- I'm still called by these names years and years later lol

    ReplyDelete
  14. As a child my brothers' friends called me weedhopper, which made no sense to anyone, but it was always said with affection. Many of my friends now call me Wendleberry.

    I like calling you Gumby...so until you say otherwise, that's who you are to me.
    :)

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  15. Nicknames for Irish? Hmmm.

    Night Writer
    C.C. Writer
    Easy Writer
    Low Writer
    Ghost Writer in the Sky
    Writer on the Storm
    Midnight Writer

    You pick!

    Blondie (Malisa)

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  16. That damn Braja. She's always coming out on top with her freakin' brilliant mind.

    I like Irish. Of course, I think I was the first (in my dreams) to use it. I so think of you that way.

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  17. I kinda like Captain Death... not sure why. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go back to staring off into space and dreaming about your sandwich.

    ReplyDelete
  18. For reasons I am still confused about, at college I got the nickname Fucked Up Munch Bunny.
    It stuck for the best part of 2 years - I even got addressed that way in letters.

    (Mr the Fella is a great nickname, if I do say so myself).

    Hugs
    Anna xxx

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  19. I like "Gumby" that seems like a cool nickname. When I was a kid we lived in Germany until I was three years old. when we came back my nephew said I was really small for my age and then he started calling me "Peewee" all through my life my family has called me that. Now, I don't hear it as much unless I go back to Texas - it's mostly used by family and really good friends from my past.

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  20. Hey it could have been "crazy" or "neurotic man".

    As far as team names, my kid was on the purple people eaters. Say that 20 times and see how you feel.

    ReplyDelete
  21. My friends called me Trader Vic in high school.
    My dad called me "Lippy". Hmm....

    Your WV just called me "uncytard". I think it fits me.

    ReplyDelete
  22. dorkfish made me laugh and my fiance's best friend frequently calls him fuckstick. Which is rude. and hilarious.

    ReplyDelete
  23. as long as we don't call you bastard, you're golden.

    irish gold!!! That's IT!

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  24. Yeah, I always wanted a cool-girl nickname in high school to put on the back of one of those baseball-style shirts. Everyone had one, it seemed, but me and all the other geeks and dorks. The only nickname I really had was the one my brother gave me: "Mrs. Bighair". Still calls me that to this day. I think he was jealous because I was a hair farmer and he had a "really big forehead". (read "prematurely receding hairline")

    S.P.'s name was "Methane Man" in college and believe me he earned it; he can fart like a bull moose and I swear sometimes he has actually died and just hasn't fallen over yet.

    Jones was "Fat Boy" for much of his first year as he was such a butterball and we most always call Pony Girl "Beaver". That one we'll have to drop before she gets to jr. high...

    Happy Sunday!

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  25. Marinka: Genius! Senor Irish sounds great! I’m working on the black thing.

    TBF: Salt Lick. I sense a new bar gimmick, or at least a free drink. I want a jersey!

    BL: Hello, welcome! Twinkie? *gulp* Oh, dear…

    IB: Brilliant! I could combine with Marinka’s – Senor McIrish!

    Kathy: Gumby’ s cool. But not “Bah-ston”? The Westy/last name has me stumped…

    OAM: “Gumbtastic” – Great new word! And, yes, Kevin it is. I have seen that it is derived from a Celtic word meaning “the beautiful offspring” or “pleasant and comely”, so I’m okay with that…

    Bella: Good idea! And is there such a thing as a “Clean Commie”?

    RTT: Sorry about the pissy missy. Chubby Cheeks is better! Mr. does add a certain classiness…

    Rachael: Zenmaster Gumbo says “Become that which you are”…

    Michelle: Chewie? Like Chewbacca :)?

    Teri: *blush* Not yet, but I’m all ears! Thank you. I like them both, but I think I wouldn’t mind hearing ‘Kevvie Delight’ a lot (rawr), now I’m REALLY hungry… ;)

    CPM: Kevins all over the place now! I was the only Kevin I knew for a long time. And ‘StoppitKevin’ would be a great name for a soccer goalie!

    DC: TurboBitch *laugh* and Thumper. Sounds dangerous and kinda sexy at the same time ;)

    SC: Weedhopper? Anything like ‘grasshopper’ from the TV show? And Gumby is fine.

    MHM: I like ‘Low Writer’, because I could use that War song ‘Low Rider’ as my theme song. Ultra hip!

    Janie: I gots the ladies dreamin’ of me, I am so in…:)

    CD: We were all scared of Captain Death. And if you are in the Baltimore area, let me know, I’ll take you to the shrine of the Turkey Club.

    Anna: FUMB? I…uh…well…it is certainly unique, isn’t it?

    Tony: I’d rather be Gumby than Pokey “I’m Gumby, dammit!”
    Bernthis: Neurotic Man is my superhero alter ego!

    Vic: Trader Vic is cool. Better than Trader Joe! (and what does the WV stand for?)

    Flutter: Dorkfish is all yours if you want it! I also had a friend who liked to use the phrase “Backwards ass country fuckstick” which is like the nuclear option of names!

    VM: *snort* Bastard is just a warm up. And ‘Irish Gold’ is another kind of grass they grow in Ireland, *winkwink*…

    Mrs. C: Change it to “Crystal Methane Man” and he could be a DJ at dance parties!

    ReplyDelete
  26. How about the obvious. . . M.C. Hammer????

    ReplyDelete
  27. lizspin: THAT'S BRILLIANT!!! Ohhh, too late, I got rid of my big silly pants!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I always wanted to live somewhere else and be called "New York" but I went to college in NY... dang!

    When I had long hair and pointy beard everyone called me Satan. I rolled with it for years until I walked into a restaurant one night and a friend's mother called out, "Hey Satan!" I turned to the friend I was with and said, "Give me a new nickname NOW!" At that moment I became Jonny Blaze. I constantly got whiplash working for a band who's singer was Billy Blaze... yo Blaze! Others on the list:

    Pedro (long before Napoleon ahthangyouverymuch)
    Martha (my mom was a teacher, jocks suck)
    Kaptain Krunch
    and when I was wee I told everyone to call me Buck, short for Sears Roebuck. I remember telling my kindergarten teacher my name was Gary Gnu as well.

    ReplyDelete
  29. WV is lazy girl typing for
    word verification. So basically your site called me a "uncytard".
    That's cold.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Mister: I'd go with Kaptain Krunch. Awesome band name possibilities with that one!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Vic: Doh! I shoulda known that! and sorry about the tard reference. Maybe I can talk to google, get the algorithms to back off, play nice..

    ReplyDelete
  32. I just love it when they don't have to ask, they just KNOW what you want. On the flip side, I hate it when they do that at McD's since it means I'm there way too often.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Irish gold...is that, like, green?

    :)))

    ReplyDelete
  34. Do you have a facebook account? What, I'm new in the blogosphere, I haven't read ALL your old posts!

    Well, if you do have it, check out the nicknames application.. I'd conveniently ignored it until someone told me I should give it a glance--- I had like 20 nicknames from different people, each had the nicest memory... and two not so nice ones that was delete friendly. I wonder how many other apps are floating around with stuff about us!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I just LOVE Captain Dumbass's comments. He always makes me giggle. I like 'Mr Irish'. Mum says this post made her think about her schooldays, which she hated. She was nicknamed 'Rubberlips' - you can imagine why! As a girl, she detested it, and it made her miserable. However, now that so many women are wanting their lips pumped up like Angelina Jolie and looking stupid in the process, she simply smiles and thinks "Payback!"

    ReplyDelete
  36. I have come here from Cherie/ Butterfly Dreamer's blog.
    I have read some of your posts and would like to revisit.

    If you like short stories and paintings, then a visit to my blogs would be an interesting one for you.

    Naval Langa
    SHORT STORIES by NAVAL LANGA
    PAINTINGS GALLERIES

    Another Interesting Blog
    BIG CITIES OF INDIA

    ReplyDelete
  37. I have a nickname that I have had my entire life. It was given to me by my dad on the day I was born. He said I looked like a bug. Small body and big eyes. So that is what everybody has called me my entire life. Bug.
    Well it's better than Dorkfish..
    Isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  38. ps: the dignity came from you, my little Irish friend. :))

    Speaking of which, where's that bloody Irish woman?????

    ReplyDelete
  39. I call you "The Irish", cause you're the only one!

    My nickname growing up was "M & M". Really, now. I wasn't THAT sweet growing up. Still not. Then it moved to emabee that lasted all of 2 years. Then, nothing. Sigh....I want a nickname now.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Something about being named Rebekah means that people choose to nickname you a lot. Apparently three syllables is just too many. MOST opt to call me Becky, which makes my eyes bleed spontaneously.

    And I was (although it's darkened in the last few years) a lifelong redhead. So I've been "Red" to a lot of people too.

    Meh and double meh.

    I think it's time for me to come up with my own nickname. Princess Zesty Lips? Thunder beam? Hum...I'm working on it...

    ReplyDelete
  41. LMAO @ dorkfish. Caught that on a corndog... LOL!!!

    My son recently informed me that he is going to the judge and telling him he wants to be called The Quickster.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Dude!! I never had a nick name and always wanted one - I got stuck with the lame and plane Krys or Krysty - yeah - blah!!!

    Oh and Gumby, that is what we call Sneaky Monkey sometimes because his head is mis-shappen; he was approved for the little helmet too late now he has a slant on the back of his head. As long as his hair is wild and curly, all is good. If it is cut short - well, you can tell really bad!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Casey: Choose carefully when grazing…

    Braja: It can be, under the right growing conditions. (and thank you, re: dignity :)

    Asphodel: Not yet, but shan’t be to much longer I think. Good thing the ‘delete’ thing works!

    Henry: The Captain has got the touch. Tell Mum “sorry” about the rubberlips.

    NL: Thank you! Glad you could stop in, love to have you back. Thank you for the links!

    Belle: Bug tops Dorkfish any day of the week. Besides, some bugs are cute! ;)

    MD: YESSS! I am the Irish! Thank you! M & M – chocolate tastes good, yummm…

    Rebekah: Bleeding eyes = double plus ungood. I shall not call you Becky! Hey, how about ‘Val’ short for ‘Valkyrie’? You’ve got the helmet, already!

    Chris: The Quickster- could be problematic once he gets really interested in girls…

    Krystal: Start wearing black leather, call yourself ‘Krystal Method’, that’ll get some attention!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Yes, it would be "Bah-ston". Good pick up there. And Kevin? Not my favorite name. I like Gumby much bettah!

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  45. Kathy: Thanks for the clarification. And I'm cool with Gumby!

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  46. well, I invented a nickname myself and almost forced people around to use it.

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  47. I've been dying to call you Iggy. So now I will.

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  48. Sunny: Was it 'Sunny'? :)

    Pamela: Like Iggy Pop, I hope. Yeah, that's cool!

    ReplyDelete

"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."


-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...