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