The Dude, by any other name, would not be Jeff Bridges


‘What’s in a name? A lot of funny stuff, actually.’

Many of you were a tad confused, as well as amused, by my recent story ‘The Jerk and The Dude’. So I’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight: I am not married to Jeff Bridges.

Granted, Mr. Bridges is pretty darned cute, and is known far and wide for his role as The Dude in that funny Coen Brothers film, but I must tell you that my personal Dude earned his dandified moniker back when Mr. Bridges was still only a Fabulous Baker Boy. Even before that, actually.

His Dudeness-to-Whom-I-am-Wed was dubbed ‘The Dude’ when he misguidedly, but rather charmingly, wore a tie to his freshman mixer at Dartmouth College. I do not have photographic evidence of this, since I did not know him then. (I very cleverly waited to meet him after he’d gone through college and medical school.) But I did find this rather nice shot of him as a young Dude-in-Training. (And no, I don’t think that’s a clip-on tie.)

The Duderino, getting his Dudeness on at a very early age.

The Duderino, getting his Dudeness on at a very early age.

I did have the pleasure of attending a couple of Dartmouth reunions, though. Where I learned very quickly that everyone at The Big Green had nicknames. There was ‘Gouda’, whose mom sent him care packages featuring cheese. And ‘Ooooo C’mon’, who cheered himself on thusly while playing squash. And ‘Jook Bock’, who studied all the time (‘Book Jock’, get it?) because he was very very disappointed at not having gotten into Harvard and wanted to get the heck out of Dartmouth as soon as humanly possible. (He finished in three years.)

But my favorite was this extremely handsome man kitted out in a snappy blue blazer who turned on a hundred-watt smile when The Dude greeted him as ‘Crud’! Turns out, through an incredible twist of fate that Crud (really Don) knew my Oldest Younger Brother Scott because Crud’s brother was married to the sister of Scott’s Northwestern roomie ‘Gio’ (really Patrick). (OK, now I’m exhausted.)

The Dude, having grown up in a big family, of course had a Previous Nickname. Which was ‘Bone’ (and still is, if you ask his brother Bill). That’s because he was (and still is, if you ask me) quite skinny and bony. Here he is, with his brothers and his dad, at the height of his Boneness:

From left: Bone, Denny (really Carl), Bill (really Willet), and Dad (really Dad)

Left to right: ‘Bone’ (really ‘The Dude’), ‘Denny’ (really Carl), ‘Bill’ (really Willet), and ‘Dad’ (really Dad)

I bet a lot of you out there had childhood (or even grownup) nicknames. Mine was ‘AE’, because my Second Younger Brother Roger couldn’t pronounce ‘Alice’. So he spelled it (amusingly wrong, of course) instead.

And of course there are names that are funny even when they’re not ‘nicked’. The Dude knows a doctor named Payne and a hand specialist named Finger. He also knows two doctors married to each other with the last name ‘Doctor’. Imagine the phone calls: (Caller) ‘Hello, I’d like to speak to Doctor Doctor.’  (Answerer) Which Doctor Doctor? Doctor Doctor? Or Doctor Doctor?’

But the absolute best funny-actual-name prize goes to my Cousin Marcia, whose best friend growing up was named (and probably still is) Shelly Bottom. Shelly had a sister named Sandy and a brother named Rocky. And guess what her father’s name was?


(I certainly hope you weren’t sipping coffee at your computer when you read that.)

I’m going to close with a side-by-side comparison of the Two Dudes sporting bathrobes. For no particular reason, except that I happened to have them on hand:

Amagansett, New York. September 2015

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31 thoughts on “The Dude, by any other name, would not be Jeff Bridges

  1. I came here to this place through the #Sundayblogshare I was nicely surprised. You had me laughing and one could do with a laugh right now, I wasn’t expectiong at 6. Am to be laughing but I was so tjank you. I personally think the bony dude was a good choice but … maybe steer clear of doctor doctor and his wife, i hooe they are not audiologists you would think you had ear echo disorder. Psychiatry would be decidedly dodgy too ?.

    My maiden name was Cheshire and I lived through and survived the cat, moggy, and Alice in wonderland jokes without too much trauma. But I remember moving house and Dad taking me to the new surgery to hear over the tannoy. ‘Cheshire to see Cheese room 9 please.’ My Father guffawed beside me until it struck him … He would be subjected to the same when he visited the surgery. Happy Monday from England, it’s never twerly for giggles.

    • My first name was (and is!) Alice, so I totally can identify with the ‘Wonderland’ jokes. I can so feel your name pain! Thank you for weighing in — and so early in the morning too! Personally, I think it’s never too early for a laugh — as long as my mouth isn’t full of coffee at the time. Oh, and Happy Monday to you too! xoxo

  2. drallisonbrown

    Laughing out loud! I’m an educator, so of course, I’ve seen my share of funny names – real ones, too, not just nicknames. My favorite example, the Hogg sisters (Ima and Ura). I kid you not…….Sincerely, Big Al

    • Oh yes,Big Al. I am quite familiar with Ima and Ura (well, not personally, but you know what I mean!) So glad you got a good ole laugh out of this post. I aim to please, or my name isn’t LutheranLiar!

  3. I think names are fascinating, Alice and your story of the Bottom family made me snort salsa out my nose. Which was great for my sinus congestion. Your photo of The Dude with his non-clip-on-tie, makes me want to call him ‘Dudie Howser.’ He is so cute!

  4. Luckily, I’d just put my coffee cup down before getting to the end of your post! I laughed so hard, my own dude hollered from the next room to ask what was so funny. We both agree – cousin Marcia’s best friend definitely wins the prize!

    • So glad you enjoyed this, Traci!!! And super-glad that you did not snort coffee out your nose. I also worked down the hallway from a guy whose office nameplate read ‘Les Wiener’. Honest. And fingers crossed that he does not read my blog (!)

  5. Apparently, we were behind the times at NYU because I never got a college nickname. Then again, us non-Ivy types might not have been smart enough to hand out catchy names. 🙂

  6. Tom Rost

    Why isn’t all this in a book? You’re funnier than the Hack Jane Maas. And at least you’ve been to LA for a shoot more than once,

  7. Nicknames are great. My uncle used to call me “stickman” because I resembled Bone. My wife’s brother always called her “Beep” because calling her “Beef” sounded rude. Now his four kids call her Aunt Beep.

  8. Nancy Vines

    You are too funny!!!! I love all your stories. Keep ’em up. What a riot that people thought you were married to Jeff Bridges. Never even thought of that. Probably because I know YOUR Dude. lol

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