I have a super power, it is both a gift and a curse… I bear terrible responsibility for my actions when I choose to use it. I don’t fly, shoot lasers out of my eyes or read minds (just ask my wife!) my power is the bestowing of nick names.
For some reason I have an amazing ability to suddenly and without warning craft a nick name and stick it like a permanent “Hi, My Name is” badge on some poor soul. In just one family I tagged two people with nick names that can still be used twenty years later. They’ve never once thanked me for that.
During my juvenile delinquent teenage years I hung with my friend who’s nick name is “Kid”. He got this because he had a baby face and was younger than most of the clique by a year or two. I was not responsible for this nick name but I did tag his brother and mom. My cursed presence at his naming probably helped cement it, but I can’t take credit for that one.
Kid has a younger brother who had a group of friends a lot like our friends, only a couple of years behind us. It was the usual bored suburban kid groups. One day I was hanging with Kid and we were trying to extort Halloween candy from his little brother when I suggested we start calling him “Scooter.”
“Oh shit, don’t do that, that’ll totally stick to him,” Kid replied. It was already too late. The name was so powerful that it not only infected his poor brother, it tagged his entire group of friends as “the Scooter Crew.” For years after, you would be at a party and some kid you kinda recognized would say what’s up to you. “Who the hell was that?” You’d ask.
“Oh that’s just Crazy Eric, he’s Scooter Crew,” someone would reply. You would nod.
Then I did it again to his mom.
We used to hang out in Kid’s room and smoke cigarettes and sneak beers and play video games, much to the chagrin of his parents. Before his room we did that at my place until my parents had begun waving the gun around, so we moved.
Kid’s mom used to always be upstairs directly above his room and watch TV and do mom stuff, every once in a while she would hear or smell something that made her go bananas and she would run down the stairs and yell at us, or throw our worthless hides out the back door until the next day. She also wore a lot of pink and purple for some reason.
One afternoon it all came together in my brain, the rumble of her coming down the stairs to flip out on us combined with the inevitable shades of her wardrobe. I recalled the name of MILK’s first bicycle, “Pink Thunder” and voila. Pink Thunder deserves her own post at some point.
If there is any doubt that my ability is real I submit this; the time it went viral. I was working on a pilot for a show called, no shit…”Meth Busters” in Louisiana. We had a new PA (for those of you not in TV land PA is short for production assistant, basically the gofer/new guy position in film and TV production) who was a third cousin or something of the guy running the show. He was helping out with driving, getting stuff we needed and even got to guest star as a perp when the cops we were with couldn’t find a real perp. Reality TV!
“I like that kid, he’s a real hard worker,” I told the production manager over beers one night. Then for a second I forgot about my powers as the kid came back with a round of beers. “Hey thanks, mighty skippy of ya!” I said. My boss shot me a look. We called him Skippy the rest of the week. Skippy didn’t mind, we were in a tiny town and him working with the film crew was parlayed into some action with the local girls, I’m sure.
Last year I was working with the same production manager and I asked him how Skippy was doing.
“Oh he’s fine, but guess what?” He replied.
“What?” I said.
“They’re all named Skippy now. I pick at least one PA on every show and make him my Skippy,” He laughed. Then he went on to tell me that one of them got really mad at him because it was his first show and when his mom was watching the credits for his name it said “Skippy Johnson,”. Now this poor kid has to put “Skippy Johnson” as an alias whenever he is trying to get a job using that show as a reference. I’d feel bad about it if it wasn’t so funny.
So there you have it. Don’t make me use my terrible powers for evil.