Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Free to the people

I was recently rebuffed after I offered a good friend of mine, a new father, the greatest gift of all. I gave his son a name. It’s the name I would have used for our second child had she conveniently been born boy.

Here’s the story. We didn’t peek at the sex -- and shame on you if you ever do -- before the birth. But both Valerie and I were convinced the kicking little rascal was going to be a son.

She liked the name Sawyer because she has the hots for Sawyer on the aptly named and endlessly confusing ABC show “Lost.” I liked it because I could pass it off for its literary allusions to my hero, Mark Twain.

But as she was in labor and under heavy sedation, she agreed to my brainstorm name that is the key to the greatest boy name in the history of boys.


It’s short, punchy, unique and, I said, was the given name as one of the original seven astronauts and an authentic American hero, Buzz Aldrin (I belatedly learned I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Aldin's given name is Edwin Eugene).

Put them together and you get Buzz Sawyer.

This is perfect because years later I envisioned some future Pittsburgh Steeler announcer shouting, “And Buzz Saw Rodell rips another hole in the Cowboy line and dives in for the winning Super Bowl TD!”

Buzz Saw Rodell.

Then the doctor said, “It’s a girl!” and screwed the whole thing up. Now some future announcer’s going to be saddled with, “And there goes Lucinda Grace Rodell . . .” It just won’t have the same ring to it. And the magnificent daughter I love to cuddle is going to have to endure a really, really awkward phase in the teens for it to happen.

So I’ve been magnanimously giving away the name Buzz Sawyer free to every expecting couple I know. The reaction’s always the same.

“Uh, no thanks. We’re naming him Robert.”

So instead of having the greatest name in the world, I end up getting Bob a stupid diaper genie.

It always surprises me when the world turns its back on my generous inspirations.

Take pick-up lines. Years after I’ve lost any need for them, I’m a prolific creator of some of the best ever.

I give them to single friends and young men who need skillful mentoring from someone wise like me. And, check ‘em out, these are perfectly unisex. They can work in both directions. Remember to always say them deadpan with a straight face.

* “Tell me, was it as difficult for you growing up beautiful as it was for me?” This works great for really ugly guys because it combines a fine compliment with humor and absurd confidence. Most beautiful women are uncomfortable about their beauty and this addresses that silly nonsense.

* “You have really beautiful skin. How can I see more of it?” The issue of lustful intentions should be settled right up front. If this innocuous little come-on offends, the speaker can just move right on to the person on the next bar stool. Who needs to waste time pussyfooting around with, “Uh, do you like sushi?”

• “You look like an observant person. Tell me, what can you suggest in terms of diet or exercise that’ll have me looking as great in my jeans as you look in yours?” This, again, disarms with a deft compliment -- people like it when anyone seeks their advice -- and then closes with a devastating animal lust.

I have more, but these three should be sufficient to end loneliness around the planet. As noted, I’m all about helping people.

And why does a happily married man feel the need to compile pick-up lines? Besides the obvious humanitarian reasons, I suppose it’s basically for the same reason I resisted ever getting a vasectomy after the birth of our second and last child.

Deep in every guy’s heart, there is a profound belief that unforeseen cataclysmic events could one day wipe out the rest of the entire male population. And it’ll be up to the lone survivor to singlehandedly repopulate the human race.

And, given our history in dealing with women, even the last man alive is still going to need a really dandy pick-up if he’s ever going to get anywhere.

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