Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bugs and bug-related items

After you watch this video, you'll know why I wanted to title this post "Don't Touch It" -- but you'll also know why that title would have induced kind of a letdown in you, my three faithful readers. I mean, you would expect someone in the video to touch the bug and then something hilarious and/or gross and/or otherwise compelling would happen, but then when no one does, you would be upset with me. However, the passionate and disgusted tone with which "Don't touch it!" is hissed is probably the funniest part of the whole video. So, anyway: Don't touch it.

This provides a nice segue into how I got my familial nickname, which I do not think I have discussed here on ye olde blogge before. For as long as I can remember, my family has referred to me as "Bugs" or "Bugsy" -- I have grown fond of the nickname now, but when I was younger, it drove me nuts when my brother JJ called me Bugsy.*

Turns out, Bugsy was a derivation of the word "Doodlebug" -- I was my mom's little Doodlebug, I guess, and when I outgrew** that, it ultimately evolved into Bugsy and/or Bugs. I am Uncle Bugs to Madelynn and Owen, Bugs or Bugsy to my folks, and Bugs or Bugsy or Bugsimus Mochavis (which, you tell me) to my brother.

* One day, in a fit of rage -- and, I mean, white-hot anger the likes of which only teasing from my brother (Jim aka Jimmy aka JJ) could incite within me -- I got so sick of him calling me Bugsy that I had a bit of a meltdown and threatened to starting calling him, and this is a direct quote, "I don't know ... we'll call you! We'll call you! Um! JIGSY!" I thought it was a brilliantly emasculating put-down; he thought it was hilarious. To this day, we are Bugs and Jigs.

** It is unclear to me if I actually outgrew "Doodlebug" or if, out of necessity, we had to change it. The early 80s were a trying time, dear readers, informed by such tragedies as the Adam Walsh abduction. So the smart parenting set was busy developing escape routes, identi-kits, and secret code words for their kids to use in the War Against Stranger Danger. So, anyway, for the longest time, "Doodlebug" was our code word, and it could stay our code word, because we never had to use it. (The code word was just in case my parents had to send another adult to pick me up somewhere; I was not to go with anyone who didn't know the code word was "Doodlebug." Because, obviously, any adult who didn't know the code word was "Doodlebug" was either a rapist, a pedophile, a serial killer, or some combination of the three.) So. Anyway. One summer day, I was waiting for my mom to pick me up somewhere (summer day camp at IUPUI***, maybe?) and instead of my mom, up walked a family friend, the awesome and lovely Mrs. Linda Warder, who, before saying anything else, told me, "The password is DOODLEBUG." (Dramatic emphasis hers.) Apparently Mom had sent Mrs. Warder to pick me up for some reason -- might have been when my brother was in Driver's Ed and it was the summer when those kids in Driver's Ed were killed in a crash with a 7-Up truck and because the news was reporting a Driver's Ed car in Carmel was in a fatal crash, but this was before cell phones and internet, Mom had no idea if JJ was OK, and Mrs. Warder came and picked me up so Mom could stay at home for JJ. Or I could have totally made that up in my head. Regardless, "Doodlebug" was thenceforth shot to hell as our "secret" code word. Either that, or I just outgrew "Doodlebug," physically and otherwise.

*** Summer day camp at IUPUI, when I was 9 or 10 years old, was the first time I remember ever being funny -- at least, 9-or-10-year-old funny. I can very clearly picture standing in line waiting for the water fountain in a gymnasium, and the kid at the water fountain was taking for-gee-dee-ever to drink, and I, apparently hilariously, called out, "Save some for the fish!" Which, Oh Em Gee, you would have thought that I was Joe Piscopo, Elayne Boosler, and Yakov Smirnov all rolled into one. The kids behind me in line, especially this one African-American girl, thought that was the Funniest. Dang. Thing. they had ever heard in their lives. So, you know, comedy roots and all that.

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