A Look On The Lighter Side: What’s in a name? Some nonsense if you live with me!

A Look On The Lighter Side: What’s in a name?  Some nonsense if you live with me!

Soon after our move to Port Washington, my husband pointed out one restaurant where he surely would NOT take me.

“Which one?” I asked him.

“It’s called ‘Starve Ya’,” he said. “It’s like they’re warning you, right in the name. Why would anyone go there?”

“You mean, ‘Stavia’?” I asked him. “I hear it’s terrific! And anyway, it sounds a lot safer than the place you liked in the city.”

“Which one?”

“The one you called ‘Set-You-On-Fire.’”

“Oh, the Szechuan Fire. Well, yes, the food there is spicy — but there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you have enough beer to wash it all down!”

Perhaps luckily, most people don’t share my husband’s fondness for cryptic name games. It’s just I who must live with it.

When I’m looking for the vegetable peeler, for example, I must decode what he means by a statement like, “Oh, Garrison? He’s in the drawer by the sink”…because “Peeler” rhymes with Keillor, who at the time was still the host of NPR’s weekend music and comedy show.

When I need to find an atlas or a dictionary, or just about any of the bulky reference books for which we purchased a truckload of bookcases, my life’s partner tells me to ask Art Buchwald.

“I think he’s a little busy being dead and all. How would I call him?”

Of course, I know he really means Art Bookwall, the bookcase that takes up one wall of our living room.

Usually, I just play along. For example, when I’m done with my shower, all dressed except for soaking wet hair, I ask, “Have you seen Herr Dreyer, today?” complete with a fake German accent. Only then will he tell me where the hairdryer has gotten to.

And I mustn’t ask, by mistake, for “Klaus,” the other dryer… or I’ll risk being told “In zee basement, of course, next to zee Vashing Machine.”

My beloved has similar responses for many of the businesses in town. When we needed to choose a bank, he told me, “I would never trust money to a place that admits it will Walk (All) Over You.”

“You mean Wachovia?”

“That’s what I said.”

“What about Hanover Trust?”

“The folks who want you to Hand Over (Your) Trust?”

“Why not? It’s not like we own a college,” I tell him.

“It’s ‘Iona College,’ ” he said, a tad crankily. “Not ‘We.’ You’ve got to get the details right if you want the joke to work.”

“Yes, dear.”

My husband combines his code-crafting talents with a fondness for naming things. That’s why, when we come in from the cold, we must put our hats on Burt Hatrack, and our coats on Ta-Nehisi. They’re happy to help.

When a power surge fried the circuits in our old computer, we got a big, new one, which my spouse promptly dubbed Z-bigniew Computer. He protected it from any more mishaps with a surge protector, Sergio Prevente.

Our new car, when we bought one, cost us MegaBucks, so: Meg for short. And when I load the trunk, for one of our trips, my husband invokes the help of St. Inigoes — the patron saint of loading vehicles. (It helps if you read these out loud — as long as no one else is around!)

Medical adventures really bring out the punster in him. Once, when I came down with an ear infection, he was all kindness, asking several times a day, “How’s Golda?”

A little slow on the uptake, I asked him, “Golda? Golda Who? Do you think we have a goldfish?”

Of course, he meant Golda, My Ear…the first female Prime Minister of Israel.

He keeps a close eye on my feet, as well, including Paul — my Bunyan — and Maria, the Callus. The callus, especially, is kept under control with the help of Eartha Nail Kitt.

When my right knee decided to freeze up, he called it Her-my-own-knee — inspired of course by the brilliant friend of Harry Potter. Thanks to Hermione, I needed a cane to hobble around with; but I asked so many times for my partner to “Please bring my cane over here,” that inevitably it acquired a name of its own: Meghan, Mah Cane.

Meghan actually traveled with me all around Israel, telescoped up into Herbert von Carry On. When I returned from my travels, Meghan got her own special hook on Burt Hatrack. She’s happy, these days, resting next to my husband’s souvenir from his ankle surgery years before: John McCane.

They’re family, so they don’t mind sharing.

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