Friday, January 9, 2009

Pa's name minefield

The names of the babies in this post have been changed to protect their privacy. Though, if we're being honest, Pa probably couldn't remember their names aright anyway.

Not too many years ago, Pa used to make great sport of his own father's notorious inability to correctly put a name to a face. Whether it's some lineal vengeance or genetic quirk, however, this embarrassing failure has now boomeranged. Just this morning, for instance, Pa delivered Sonny to the infant care centre and then paused to tickle one of the other inmates.

"Ah, that's Jake, right?" he offered sagely.

"Er... no, that's Jim," replied one of the staff, her eyes darting meaningfully to the left. Pa followed the glance, and realised that Jim's parents - with whom we are on 'how-do-you-do' terms - were still hovering. It was obviously time for a very expeditious exit, so of course Pa tried manfully to recover.

"Well... Jake's... eh, John's.... not as fat as he used to be, don't you think," he managed to stammer, realising he had made multiple faux pas when the parents' already unmistakable frowns began to mutate into masks of displeasure.

The thing was, this had all happened before. Though the number of babies who were enrolled around the same time as Sonny in the infant care centre could be numbered on one hand, Pa continually gets their names jumbled (when he remembers the names at all). Mum, on the other hand, annoyingly has no such trouble and has even gotten pally with most of the other parents, so that they are always calling Sonny - correctly - by name.

As you have seen, however, Pa's name-weakness isn't the end of the story. Worse, he has a tendency to compensate by applying rather tart descriptors, which can be very dangerous if not accompanied by careful sweeps-of-the-area to ensure that no one else is about. For instance, the other day, both of us were at the care centre spending a few seconds with a frisky playmate of Sonny's.

"This one... yes, this is the vicious one, right? Manny or Mangy or whatever his name is", Pa said to Mum, a tad too loudly.

"Oi, keep it down," shushed Mum. "The name is..."

"Well, whatever, Mongo or something," interrupted Pa. "But he's the vicious one, I'm sure of it."

At this point, Vicious Baby's parents materialised (real name: Mindy), though it was unclear if they had overheard the exchange. We scuttled off and luckily no breakable objects were thrown.

Sometimes, it can seem a blessing we decided to refer to our son as "Sonny" for the purposes of this blog. Otherwise, chances are high Pa would get his name wrong as well.


Anonymous said...

That's a good one - does ask me to remember names - I only do faces... names, you can forget it. Thats why I call my duaghter kiki and my son coca [ trust me coco is short for "coco head" - you know baby, large head proportion to body... wife still doesn't like it ]

Cloudsters said...

"Kiki & Coco"... hmm, there's a certain ring to it.