I’m a person who tends to forget names quickly, especially when I’m first introduced to someone. I think I’m so concerned with getting my name right I simply lose focus, and this issue has plagued me for much of my life.
What I can remember, however, are nicknames – especially those I give some of the neighbors I frequently encounter during my morning walks.
For the most part these are not folks that I actually know in the sense that we’re close friends and hang out. Basically I just wave at them and say things like, “Looks like it’s gonna be a warm one today with highs in the mid-80s and light winds blowing east-southeast at five miles per hour,” “Man, I wish Batman was real,” or “I can’t wait for Halloween because I’m dressing as a werewolf again this year.”
Our conversations are neither long nor deep, which is just the way I like them.
But as a point of reference I’ve decided to assign many of them a sobriquet. Here are a few that stand out:
I see this woman almost every day. Her nickname stems from the hairstyle she sports, which is reminiscent of Dana Carvey’s Church Lady from “Saturday Night Live.”
She’s stands about 5-2 and weighs 75 pounds and I’m guessing she’s between the age of 130 and 165. But she can move – she doesn’t so much walk as she glides.
One thing I’ve noticed is she’s always carrying what looks to be a hurley (hurling stick), which makes me wonder if perhaps she’s from Ireland and once played the game.
Probably, though, it’s just a stick she uses to ward off suitors, coyotes and the kinds of people you see in Gatlinburg who try to get you to listen to a seminar about condos.
THE LONE RANGER
OK, this is the one neighbor’s name I can remember because when he introduced himself it immediately rang a bell. It’s John Reid. John Reid, as you know, was the Lone Ranger’s true identity, and he teamed up with Tonto to fight outlaws in the Old West.
This John Reid, however, doesn’t fight outlaws – at least as far as I know. I’m pretty sure he works construction.
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic he does wear a mask, though, so that’s pretty cool.
Sadly, his dog is not named Silver, which is bitterly disappointing to me.
NAPOLEON DYNAMITE AND NAPOLEON DYNAMATE
This couple lives around the corner. The guy not only has hair and eyeglasses identical to Jon Heder’s “Napoleon Dynamite” character, but he also walks like him and often has a vacant expression. So many times I’ve wanted to yell, “Vote for Pedro!” but I don’t because I’m sure he gets that a lot.
As for his wife/girlfriend/partner/roommate, she looks normal. I just call her Napoleon Dynamate because I think it’s funny.
There is a friendly woman on our street who pats her boyfriend on the butt whenever he comes out of their house. Sometimes they’ll walk together toward the street, turn around and look back at their house, and she’ll pat his butt then.
Once she was cutting grass and he was putting down mulch, and she patted his butt while his butt was aimed skyward.
Point being, if the dude is outside and his butt is within reach, Butt Patter is gonna pat it.
I can only imagine what the man’s butt endures inside the house.
ON GOLDEN POND DOG WALKER
This woman looks like Henry Fonda in his “On Golden Pond” role, right down to the fishing bucket hat and wire-rimmed glasses. Each time she sees me walking Charlie, our Sheltie, she screams, “Is your dog friendly?”
I always tell her that Charlie is old and nervous – much like myself – and would rather keep his distance (also much like myself). So naturally, she trots over with her dog, who tries to lick Charlie’s bits and pieces.
Needless to say, these encounters are awkward.
THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN
This dude is gigantic – tall, heavy – just mountainous. I imagine him eating entire herds of cattle, drinking from a water tank and then when he’s done, stomping his way through the city Godzilla-style.
Of course when I see him out walking I don’t call him the Amazing Colossal Man. I address him as “sir” and try to make as little eye contact as possible.
MANLEY STUD AND PRECIOUS MUFFIN
This young couple can often be seen jogging down our street. Manley strikes me as someone who works out at the gym seven days a week, holds an important job in high finance, drinks nothing but microbrews and calls other males “Bro.”
Precious wears designer outfits while running, never sweats, has blinding white Britney Spears teeth and has probably played Elle in a community theater production of “Legally Blonde.”
Based on our brief interactions they’re nice people but I hate them both.
It’s just what I call this one guy because, well, he’s that asshole.