Ok, so where was I? Oh, yes, I was rambling on about nicknames.
My second son, aka Sanford, who was born of the job interview, called me “Dadster” after dinner, which I’m cool with, and then later, “Mexico”. I’m not really sure why Mexico. I’ve always thought of myself more along the lines of a “Canada”, or maybe an “Ireland”. Probably not a “Belize” and definitely not “Chile”. There will only ever be one Chile, and that’s Jon Travolta in Get Shorty. And, yes, I know that his character is actually “Chili”, but it suited my purposed better the other way; save yourself the wasted email.
So why Sanford? Well, let’s just say that the boy and Redd Fox share a common interest. He likes junk, a lot. Trinkets, old gadgets, discarded stuff, and pretty much anything either shiny or mechanical (especially anything mechanical), are all items of immense value and terrific wonder to the little dude. Of course, it’s only full of value and wonder for 8 hours or until bedtime, whichever comes first. The next morning, the Exciting! New! Junk! is now just something else of his, and no longer something new. The shine wears off a newly acquired piece of someone else’s stuff faster than the new construction smell at a White Castle grand opening. After that? Well, the recently gained and no longer all that interesting item finds its way into the boy’s “junk box”, where it lays untouched until The Attitude digs it out and carries it around the house.
The worst part about the whole Sanford business is his incredible tenacity when it comes to inquiring about new pieces for his “collection”. Honestly, the way he coerces innocent grandparents into giving up 20 year old trinkets, you’d think he was in the business of finding unknown Van Gogh’s, lost to history for a hundred a fifty years in someone’s dusty attic. Unfortunately for me, it’s not a rough sketch of the Mona Lisa he’s looking for, it’s a an 15 year-old adjustable wrench or mechanical pencil from 1986, but God help you if you think he’ll take “No” for answer. FYI: he doesn’t.
Lastly in our nickname-o-rama, there is my youngest son, who alternates between calling me “Dada”, “dadoo-baba”, and just screeching to get my attention. As I’ve said before, he’s at an age when the execution of a full body tantrum apparently seems the most reasonable way to accomplish his goals. Before long, he’ll realize that we find it more entertaining than compelling. Until then, I’m blessed with the opportunity to watch him roll about on the carpet at least once a night while screaming as if he were witnessing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Even more fun than the nightly fit ritual is hearing him utter the ubiquitous expression, “dadoo-baba”. No one has any idea what it means, none whatsoever; it’s very much like the word “smurf”. If you remember The Smurfs cartoon from the early 80’s, you know what I mean. The term “smurf” could be used for any purpose by the little blue monsters. For example, “I need to go to Gargamel’s and smurf some milk”, “Papa Smurf said the next smurfing smurf that touched his whiskey would be smurfing the back of his hand”, or “Smurfette was in a mood and being a total smurf last night, so I slept on the smurfing’ couch“. The Attitude’s use of “dadoo-baba” is pretty much equivalent. He uses it whenever he wants and it can refer to absolutely anything. Honestly, I’m just glad that he seems to use it most frequently in connection with either myself or his stuffed Elmo. That’s about as rarified company as it gets when you’re dealing with a 17 month old.
So, long story short, everyone in the family has a nickname of some kind, and I somehow have a whole boatload. Ironically, I didn’t even mention the one that my mother gave me as a baby. Its use is forbidden, and outside of my parents and siblings, only my wife knows it. Our continued marital bliss is contingent upon her keeping it to herself. So, having piqued your interest with that little nugget, I think that’s enough smurfing nickname talk for me. I’m gonna go smurf an Arrogant Bastard and watch TV until I smurf out in my chair.