Thursday, April 20, 2006

Boonie Boo-bo

I drove my dad to the airport yesterday. He is visiting my sister in Germany. When I picked him up, I sat in our livingroom visited by trickles of memory from decades spent in that room with my dad.

There's something about Massachusetts in that every kid needs, or gets anyway, a nickname. Everybody except people with names like "Korte", which pretty mich renders a nickname whose purpose is to differentiate, useless.

My best friend as a kid (and today) is a guy named Steve Boudrot. His last name rhymes with Woodrow. I believe he got his nickname "Boudy" (rhymes with Woody) the first time he hung out with other little kids his age. The nick is a natural. This comes to mind because I ran into Steve's parents at my favorite diner this morning, "Peg's", of course.

Dad had a terrible time pronouncing Boudy, as he did with most of the names of the Boston Red Sox. Mike Greenwell was a particular challenge for pop, and to this day, I'm not quite sure as to why. My other best bud as a kid was a guy named John Beauchamp, but everybody called him Smooch for some reason I can't recall. This was later changed to Gooch for some of us when there was a TV character of the same name, a bully on a popular sitcom of the time. For reasons unbeknownst to me, dad had no trouble remembering "Smooch".

For some reason reason, he always turned Mike Greenwell into Nick Greenwald. Maybe he was trying to blot out memories of Greenwell's mangling of defense in left field.

Butch Hobson was Hodson. In more recent years Rolando Arrojo was Arroyo and later Bronson Arroyo was Arrojo.

Most puzzling is dad's ability to butcher a simple name, yet have the more difficult name he creates committed to memory for life, etched in stone and never to be corrected. My sister Deb's friend Ursula somehow became Shooshala, which was itself too difficult and was shortened to Shushi. One day he mentioned Shushi (sounds like shoe-she) and got irritated when I had no idea whom he was talking about, ending the conversation with "whatever the hell her name is". Mind you, this woman has been a friend of our family for like twenty years.

But I digress.

That being said, it is not too much of a reach to assume dad was going to have considerable difficulty with "Boudy".

One day I came home and got a message from dad that went something like this:

Dad: Boonie called.
Me: Who?
Dad: Boomie? Boogie?
Me (laughing)

I think my laughing unnerved dad, as he went into some sort of stumbling Tourettes-like attack during which he created every feasible variation of Boudy he could come up with. It went something like this.

Dad: Boonie... Boomie? Boolie?!? Gooby (stated definiteively)
Me: (falling on floor holding stomach) Gooby?!?!?
Dad: Boonie?!? I don't know... some a**hole... why don't you get a friend with a normal name?

This would of course be less funny and less ironic had my father RENSFORTH not named his youngest son KORTE.

To this day, dad asks me how Boonie is doing and always remembers what a nice kid Boonie was. Steve still introduces himself as Boonie to my dad on the phone, and when he leaves me a message always says hello this way, "Korte, it's Boonie...

...and I don't think I have been able to call him Boudy since that day.


Blogger Gelatinous Goo said...

Korte, this was laugh out loud funny...Goobie...

My brother (whose nicknames include Stan and Mookie) and I were just recently reminiscing about a kid in town whose nickname was "Meatball" until he dropped a lot of weight, and then he became "Meat." And then there was another large kid named "Tank" - don't even know what the hell the poor kid's real name was... They grew 'em big in Rock-a-dale.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Korte said...

Yeah..."Goobie"... we still laugh about that one today.

10:07 AM  

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