Chapter 17

The Sound: The Carpenters – Mr Postman, Aaron Neville – Tell it Like it Is, Led Zepplin – Whole Lotta Love, Eddie Holman – Lonely Girl, CCR – Travelling Band, The Jaggerz – The Rapper, The Five Stairsteps – Ooh Child, James Brown – Get Up (Sex Machine), Charles Wright – Express Yourself, Fifth Dimension – One Less Bell to Answer

I climb out of the car and am almost instantly surrounded by people.

Boomer is making like big man on campus and I am introduced to so many people in that first 15 minutes I know I hold no hope of remembering them all. They mill around all laughing and talking and muttering at once and while I am still terrified I begin to see a familiarity to this motley group.

I hear my name “Baby” ripple through the crowd and I understand that both the highlight anxiety and the stress of these first few minutes will be hearing their names.

There’s California from Texas, and Texas from California, there’s Bald James, there’s Wheelie, there’s Spider and Sam, there’s Little Man and Wonder Woman, there’s Old Rosie and Snot, there’s the Rat and the Mouse, Briskett and Boxer, Killer, Axeman, Butcher, the Executioner, MonkeyMan and Magilla, (not to be confused with) Gorilla or Chimp, Tiger and Tigger, Hard Harry, Dog, Prince of Pain (PP for short) and Skert, Nails and Hammerhead.

Then there’s the names that fall on the flip side of the coin like Casanova, Lothario, Prince Charming, Ladykiller, Playboy, ShowBoat, The Stud, Wolf, Injun and Tobias. And finally I am introduce to a teeny tiny woman named Little Ugly who may well be the most beautiful Indian woman I have ever set my eyes on.

I think to myself…”what? There’s nobody simply named Pete or Joe or Fred even?” and beyond this thought comes the understanding that all of these names have been picked, chosen, given or earned by their “family” to differentiate them all, to individualize them and to emphasize their personalities or traits.

Just like me….“Baby”.

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