‘Those Dartmouth Boys do love their nicknames’
Many of you Faithful Readers think that I’m the one who dubbed The Dude “his Dudeness.” An honor I would love to claim, were it the truth.
But no. Wayne was The Dude way before I clapped eyes on him in the late lamented Shabu Shabu on our first date. (You can, of course, read about this sacred event in “The Time I Had A Blind Date with an Eye Doctor.”)
He was christened “The Dude” because he showed up at the freshman mixer at Dartmouth College wearing a tie. This was in 1970, when Dartmouth Men were sporting fringed suede vests and/or leather hats instead of ties. (I have this on good faith from the suede-leather-vest guy, a perfectly lovely man nicknamed “Crud,” for some reason I’d really rather not know about. The Dude was the one with the leather hat.)
Like I say, those Dartmouth Boys do love their nicknames. It’s been ages since The Dude last sported a leather hat, but he and his bros still call each other by their college monikers.
Earlier this summer, one of Dude Man’s roommates, a man with the perfectly good name of Ken, contacted us to say he’d be in town — he and his lovely wife Ellen (no nickname that I know of) live in LA — and would we like to get together to have lunch?
“I’ll make a reservation, but it won’t be under “Jookbock,” was how he ended the conversation. See, Ken was quickly renamed “Bookjock” at Dartmouth because all he did was study. He studied all the time because he didn’t like Dartmouth (He really really wanted to go to Harvard) and wanted to get out of there as fast as he could. So he hit the books — “Bookjock” — and graduated early. Well, for some reason, “Bookjock” morphed into “Jookbock” (more fun to say, maybe? Dude Man can’t remember) and was eventually shortened to “Jook.” Which is pronounced like “book,” only with a “j.”
Also at this lunch was a guy named Gouda, whose mother named him Scott — a perfectly lovely name. I know because I have a brother named Scott. My Scott owes his Actual Name to a nickname — something I found out about at his Living Wake last week. (A thoroughly enjoyable event you can read about here.) Turns out Scott was named “Scott” in honor of our Dad’s nickname: “Scottie.” Dad got called this because when he was little his mother used him as kind of a dress dummy so she could pin up the hem of a skirt she was making for one of his sisters. Dad loved wearing the skirt and didn’t want to take it off. It was plaid — so, “Scottie.”
But back to the Dartmouth Scott. It was his mother who was responsible for the name “Gouda,” since she used to send him care packages of cheese. (At this point I have to wonder what kind of mother sends cheese care packages. My mom sent brownies, or sometimes Rice Krispy Treats.)
(Before I forget, I must point out, in the spirit of full disclosure, that the three Dartmouth guys in the photo at the top of this post are not, alas, Jook and Gouda. If they didn’t have nicknames, they certainly compensated with what appears to be a very nice marijuana crop.)
I’ll close by mentioning that The Dude and I did in fact have a most marvelous lunch with Gouda and Jook. Their wives too, though as far as I know, they don’t have nicknames. At least not nicknames they get called in public.
Amagansett, New York. August 2023