As the Barrel Turns...
My name is Joe. It’s just Joe. It’s not Joseph or Josiah or Josephus or Josephine; just Joe. I’m a simple man with a simple name. Mother and Daddy gave it to me because they knew that I was going to be simple.
Over the years, many of us get nicknames. As kids we get names from friends. Grandparents, girlfriends, coaches and parole officers are good sources for nicknames.
Spouses are the most particular and creative source. Anne has called me by several monikers over the years. A few might possibly have even been nice and respectful. I usually do not care what she calls me as long as she does not call me late for dinner… She often calls me Joseph. To which I respond, “Yes, Anneseph?”
Anne is always meeting new people and adopting them as a new best friend. She talks about people all the time and with familiarity. Many of her new discoveries I do not know. Sometimes I feel like she brings them home like a stray. It seems that I am supposed to know about whom she is talking and about what. Needless to say, I have exploited my “hearing deficiency” as expected of a man my age. Some call it selective hearing. I often get falsely accused of “ignoring”.... believe it or not.
Lately, I have a new name. This is why:
I am not sure when I first heard of the “Neeta” girls. I never met them, but it seemed that Anne was in daily contact with them. They appeared to be a set of triplets and a neglected older sister. The triplets were Uneeta, Ugotta and Weneeta. The older sister was Anita. They must come by the house often when I was at work because much of their subject matter involved our home and our business.
I did not hear much about Anita. I usually heard about Uneeta or Ugotta. I got regular updates on those two. I heard about them several times each day. Once a day I might have heard about Weneeta, but I thought it was really about Uneeta. I rarely heard about Anita. Uneeta, and Ugotta were very ambitious. They were doing so many things to help Anne around the place.
The day of reckoning came just before dinner one evening. That’s when I realized that I was supposed to be paying attention. It hit me like a brick (maybe it was a brick). Anne had mentioned to me that Uneeta was doing something earlier in the day. She then repeated it at lunch and again over the phone that afternoon. At dinner, she looked at me like I was stupid and asked why I was ignoring her.
I was astonished and asked for her patience as I tried to calculate what I had done wrong. (I should be pretty good at that after 38+ years). I responded in a sweet voice “I’m sorry, Honey, whatever do you mean? I always want to please you in everything I do.” (At least that’s the way I remember it).
She looked me in the eye and talked slowly as to a child. Our conversation went something like:
Anne: “Uneeta replace that light bulb in the kitchen.” (I wondered at her grammar, but did not comment)
Joe: “Great, I appreciate that.”
Anne: “Replace it now, if it is not too much trouble. The bulb has been out for 3 days.”
Joe: “That’s nice. Where is she? I’ve never met her.”
Joe: I repeat, “That’s nice. Where is she? I’ve never met her.”
Anne: “Who in the Sam Hill is Uneeta?”
Joe: “That’s what I want to know!”
Joe: “Because you are always talking about her and her sisters.”
Anne: “What sisters?”
Joe: “Ugotta, Weneeta and to a lesser extent, Anita.”
Anne: “Are you confused? Should I call a doctor?”
Joe: “No, I pay attention. You don’t think so, but I hear when you talk about them”
Joe: “Yes. Anita never does much. She waits on the rest to do all of the work.
Joe: “Yep, and Weneeta is just about as bad. She may have something to do, but it is later delegated to the others.”
Anne: “The others?”
Joe: “Uneeta and Ugotta.”
Anne: “What language are you using now?”
Joe: “Uneeta and Ugotta are real work horses. They seem to get all of the jobs.
Anne: “What jobs?”
Joe: “The ones you are always talking about.”
Anne: “Indulge me.”
Joe: “Have I not heard you say, hundreds of times, “Uneeta do this. Ugotta do that. Weneeta go there? I hardly ever hear, “Anita do anything.”
Anne: She gives me “That look”.
Joe: I give her “That look” right back because I don’t know what she’s thinking…
Anne: “Listen to yourself.”
Joe: I sarcastically cock my head to one side as if listening to something. I do this, because I am stalling. I can tell she has the upper hand. She now has me figured out and has an air of confidence. I hate that! She is about to declare “checkmate!”
Anne: “Those are not people.”
Joe: Puzzled look.
Anne: “Listen carefully. YOU NEED TO change the light bulb. YOU GOT TO stop the leak in the bath. WE NEED TO go to the farm and clean out the barn. I NEED TO make sure you do everything right.”
Well the discussion went downhill from there. Now I have a new nickname; Uneeta.