Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Act your age

Today, I read a wire story that involved an adult man who goes by the nickname, "Bunky."

We probably all had a silly nickname like "Bunky" once. We were also about 4 years old.

I've already written a post about nicknames, but the last time I knew any group of people who had nicknames people called them by was college. And even they made sense.

Sophomore year, my dorm floor (coed, freshman/soph) was full of nicknames. A few guys went by their last name, as usual (Strauss, Storch, Hrynko). But the rest... well, many had nicknames left over from freshman year, and the rest got 'em as they went on.

Not all were imaginative. I mean, Vijay was basically "VJ."

But some of the others had their moments.

One kid was "Newman," like the Seinfeld character. Rotund, annoying, you get the picture.

Jim Hsu (pronounced "gym shoe") needed one for obvious reasons, so one of the guys dubbed him "Ha-soo" (say it like it's spelled... not).

His roommate was "Stevie P." Why? Because Steve Miller was already taken by somebody famous, and Steven P. Miller took too long to say.

(Stevie P. was fond of saying "I don't give two shakes of a rat's ass" about things. One birthday, the guys bought him a plastic rat, so he could.)

"Marky Mark" wasn't a rapper, but he was a crew-cutted, All-American white boy named Mark. And it distinguished him from the other Mark, my pal Storch.

"Lisa Lisa" likewise got her nickname to distinguish her from another Lisa, who we called Jailbait, on account of she was a 16-year-old freshman. ("Lisa? Which one? Jailbait Lisa, or Lisa Lisa?")

The stories about Jailbait would take up an entire 'nother post. And be thoroughly offensive, generally speaking. Though she was always a willing participant in the hijinks, and often the instigator. I mean, let's be honest, on the maturity scale, 16 is somewhere between the 18/19-year-old sophomore level (and the word "sophomoric" exists for a reason) and, well, a grown man called Bunky. Poor girl flamed out young (I don't think she lasted the spring semester), which is why my kid, be he or she smart enough, still isn't skipping more than one grade, max.

One Filipino girl (Lisa Lisa's roommate) called herself "Flipper." We figured it for an ethnic slur, but maybe it was like black guys who call themselves the "n" word. I dunno.

Kroll went by last name for a while, but his luck with the ladies (two roommates, two days) got him dubbed "Casanova." Til the rumor got started he barfed up an entire piece of cheese. Then he became "Yakanova." (Pretty sure he actually barfed ON the piece of cheese... though I did see a cat once barf up an entire mouse, head to tail.)

Mark got called "Buns" by our R.A. for about a day and a half, after a Hrynko pantsing incident went horribly awry - in mixed company, no less - but he threatened us enough we stopped that right quick.

Among the other girls, Mahalynn didn't need a nickname. After all, how many of them could there be? And nobody called Michelle anything, at least to her face, because back then, if she didn't kill them (with her big-sister overhand hammer punch), I probably would have.

And Melissa probably should've been called "Rain Man," or the female equivalent. She was doing her boyfriend's engineering homework, then turned around and cleaned his room so it would be neat when his girlfriend from home came to visit.

Think about that one for a sec.

Yup, you read it right.

Melissa was actually a great girl and provided plenty of comic relief. I mean, you didn't actually have to talk about her behind her back, you could talk about her right in front of her. Once, I told her, "Melissa, just smile, nod and pretend you understand." She actually smiled and nodded before the light bulb went on and she laughed and called me some unprintable name. At least she had a good sense of humor about it.

She's probably making a couple hundred grand a year somewhere right now, so she who laughs last, eh?

Well, this sort of goofball nostalgia kick petered out, didn't it?

So no clever kicker tonight, no witty wrap-up. Just a smile about better times, back when I was younger, and more naive, and more innocent. And wilder, and crazier. And more violent. And a borderline alcoholic. OK, maybe "better" times isn't the right word. But they sure were fun. Mostly.

Links:
A glossary of ethnic slurs, which informs me "flip" is NOT a slur for Filipino (and my goodness, are some of the entries fascinating)
Carnegie Mellon University, where all this good fun took place (they've probably disavowed me by now)
And Mudge House, where I lived sophomore year and part of junior year (and THAT is another long story)

All of this begs a question: What is the statute of limitations on misadventures anyway?

2 Comments:

Freak Magnet said...

Was Bunky's last name Parsley? I went to school with Bunky Parsley. I'd be a little upset if they still didn't call him Bunky.

Anonymous said...

I knew bunky parsley from mayo... what is he up to these days?

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