Those of us who work in the public sector meet all kinds of people. Most, we usually conduct our business with and then all is forgotten about them until the next time we meet for business or sometimes it might even be an encounter in the shopping mall or an eating establishment in the city. Those people slide into the category of ordinary people, mainly because that's what they are. Then there is the other category, that which is comprised of those who, for some reason or another, possess a characteristic that is unforgettable, even funny to the point of hilarious. Most of us manage to find ourselves the bearers of names that are different, maybe even a little insulting. Sadly there are some that are downright cruel; the latter of which I try to avoid.
JC ran a service department for a number of years. That put him in a position to meet all kinds of people. Just like other places of public service he dealt with a number of people, most of whom would fit into the ordinary category but there were a few who were so different that they were comical.
Looney Tunes were JC's favorite cartoons. The likes of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, and others were highly entertaining and even into his 60s, are still something that he tunes into whenever he feels like watching a Leave Your Brains at the Door program. Before JC entered public service he often wondered where the creators of Looney Tunes and other programs came up with such colorful characters. In a matter of a year, he found his answer.
Albert was a long-time customer of JC's. From the beginning, Albert found he could trust JC and his department to solve nearly any problem he brought to them. But oftentimes Albert could be hard to understand. He was by nature a nervous person and often stammered. When he was excited he was even harder to understand. And under those circumstances his voice tended to elevate in pitch. Mix his tendency to stammer, his elevated voice and his nervous nature together and you had someone who talked just like Porky Pig.
Yabbadeea-dadeea-dadeea-da-that's all folks is almost what JC expected to hear when Albert finished explaining his problem. And that's when talking normally. Albert would often phone and try to explain what his engine was doing over the phone. 'Yabbadeea-dadeea-da-when I throttle up it makes a sound like: putt-putt-putt--yabbadeea-dadeea-clang-clang-yabbadeea-dadeea-clang-putt-putt.
Hmmm, that means your tractor's engine sounds like Porky Pig with a bad case of gas and hiccups in a hollow steel container. JC didn't say that but he was sure tempted to. "OK, Po--Albert, I'll have someone come out this afternoon." JC quickly hung up and then laughed himself silly.
JC's boss was more like Marvin, the Martian. Huff-puff-huff-puff--'that makes me furious!' Huff-puff-huff-puff--'you have made me very angry!' If he had a Centurian brush on top of his head and his feet looked like they were travelling at the speed of light, he might've been mistaken for Marvin.
Needless to say there were a lot of encounters with Marvin at JC's place of work.
Sherman was mostly a good friend of JC's although there were occasions when JC did some work for him. Sherman tended to be loud and sometimes spoke before he got all his thoughts sorted out. 'What--now I say what's the meaning of this unwarranted attack on my person?' That's right; Foghorn Leghorn. Sherman sounded and acted just like Foghorn. JC actually hung that title on him but Sherman wasn't all that receptive so, for the sake of a good friendship, JC retracted that handle.
Trouble was, a lot of people in that town still use it...
Now who can forget that guy with the bulbous cranium that is completely devoid of hair? His meffod of talking and his demeanor are unfo-gettable. So is his staccato Waff: 'Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah!'
Enter Lyle--Wyo. Wyo was ve-wy excitable and when he was, he sounded just wike Elmo Fudd. 'My twuck, my twuck, my f**&ng twuck's aw f**&d up. Transwation: my truck isn't running very well. Wyo even had a simiwo head with a weceding haiwine. He even had that Waff, but he wore Wubba boots instead of hunting boots. I also don't recall a hunting cap either.
One day JC and the crew were heading for their morning coffee break. The secretary happened to be stuck with expwaining Wyo's workorder to him. As JC walked past he let out a similar staccato laugh. The secretary stifled a snicker then very carefully talked to Wyo about the work that was done.
As soon as she was done, she stormed into the staff room and punched JC in the shoulder. 'You bastard! Do you realize how hard it is to keep a straight face when I'm talking to him?' She punched JC in the shoulder again and left the room.
An interesting footnote to this is that Mattie, then JC's fiance', was the manager in the bank in the town just north of Taber. It so happened that Wyo was a customer of hers as well. She could never deal with him the same way after hearing JC tell the story. Of course, after she shared the story with the rest of the staff, no one there could keep from at least letting out a snicker whenever he entered the branch.
Of course there are other people whose occupations alone generated the nicknames they got. Frosty was the local butcher who also ran his own locker facility outside of town. Slippery was one of the town's oil and bulk fuel agents. Then there are those whose nicknames took a little thinking but were obvious. Arby, so-called because of the initials: R-B. On the other hand there are titles that make little sense at all. I'm still trying to figure out where Mr. Bennett, the local liquor store operator, got the handle: Bugs. Or how my friend, Dick, got the handle: Paper Dick.
Now I know that it's impolite to make fun of another person's faults and handicaps but then, those people should be somewhat flattered that they made the list of the unforgettable instead of the ordinary. I might add that there are some out there who have branded yours truly as different, maybe even unforgettable. If that's the case, I'm all for it. The likes of Red Skelton and Bob Hope certainly made a lot of mileage off theirs.