Most people born to American parents are given a first name, a middle name, and a family surname. My husband is Jed Horovitz, no middle name. His birth certificate doesn’t even say Jedidiah, (although that’s what I call him anyway if I’m really ticked off).
Even with only two names, and one of just three letters, Jed still gets a fair amount of mail with mistakes in the spelling. The most common is to substitute a ‘w’ for the ‘v’ in Horovitz. Jed is not related to either Adam Horovitz from the Beastie Boys or to classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz. (He is, however, distantly related to Curly from The Three Stooges whose real name was Jerome Horwitz.) Sometimes Jed gets mail addressed to Jeb or even Jedidiah. Some mailing list even has him as came the”Rev. Jed Horovitz”. Since Jed is an atheist, that one gets a good yuk, or at least a “You should call him Rabbi guys”.
Jed didn’t really have a nick name as a kid. So we’ve been making up for it.
Remember when the term “stud muffin” came on the scene a number of years back? Jed was the Stud Muffin of Truman Ave. More specifically I guess he was the Stud Muffin of 75 Trueman Ave since we were newly married, and I don’t think the name ever made it outside the house.
Being a stud muffin of course often leads to being a dad. After daughter Rebecca was born, Jed was the expert at coaxing a burp out of her after feedings. Thus it wasn’t long before he was dubbed the Burpmeister of Haddonfield, a name I think he much preferred to stud muffin.
One year when Becca was in middle school we agreed to host a foreign exchange student. A young man named Marcelo from Bolivia came to stay with us. The orientation materials that you get before your student arrives tell you how important it is to discuss what your student will call you early on in the stay. Some kids will want someone to call Mama or Papa; or Mama Pam, etc. So the first night at dinner I asked Marcelo what he wanted to call me, and suggested he just call me ‘Pam”. He smiled and said that was fine. Then he asked what he should call Jed, and Jed responded “Emperor of the North”. We all laughed and I told Marcelo he should just use “Jed”, but it was too late. “Emperor of the North” had been proclaimed, and from then on that’s what Marcelo called Jed. Not ‘Emperor”, or “Emperor Jed’, it was always the full “Emperor of the North’. And I now have another name to toss at Jed when I think his ego needs a check.
Many of you who are reading this may be wondering what this has to do with grapes. If so, you may remember that our summer was occupied with wars against the deer and the Japanese beetles that were eating our vines. One morning we were out looking to see what the damage was from the prior night.
I called across the field to Jed, “The beetle bags look pretty full,”
“I don’t see any beetles on any vines though, at least so far.”
“What are you seeing for deer damage?”
“Nothing over here. What about where you are.?”
“I don’t see any damage, but I see two deer tracks.”
” Dang it. Let me come and look at them……I think those might be old ones.”
We peer more closely at the small indentations in the soil.
“Yeah, I think those are old tracks.”
“They should be because we have three rows of stinky tape, three rows of electrical wire, and three bars of Irish Spring. No deer shall cross this vineyard!”
” Yeah. This vineyard is defended by the MDL!”
“Yeah! This vineyard is, um wait. What’s the MDL?”
“The Merlot Defense League”
I started laughing, and said ” We should get MDL hats made.” Jed will have what the military calls ‘scrambled eggs’ on his hat, because he is clearly the Commander of the Merlot Defense League.
That may be his best name ever, which means we are done naming Jed…. at least for now.
PS We adopted a cat named Stubby from a local animal shelter, and he too rather quickly assumed a list of additional names which are as follows: Sir Stubbalicious Underfoot of Trippington Manor, commonly known to his friends as Butthead, the $5000 Cat With A Rubber Fetish.