Wednesday, July 16, 2014


My friend Patty has a cousin named Dick who is retired from the State Department where he was a diplomat. I told Patty that whenever I hear of any diplomatic story I mention to Les how her cousin Dick was the Ambassador to Georgia. That really isn't name-dropping, but whenever I do it, Les reverts to our long-standing putdowns of name-droppers as he will invariably answer "Yes, my aunt's grandfather's cousin's nephew's husband waved to IAN FLEMING." I always remind him that Ian Fleming wasn't a diplomat thus the put-down is irrelevant, but he says, "Close enough--he was MI-6."

This routine started in the 1970s and I've written before about two guys--Doug and Carl--with whom I worked (CLICK HERE to see BLOG article "YOU HAD A BED?") who were my co-conspirators in the crimes of smart-aleckry, put-downs, and all-around mischief to people we thought were deserving of ridicule.

One of our co-workers was such a constant name-dropper that whenever he would start bragging about knowing someone he considered "important", one of us three would take revenge. One night at the lunch table, I was given the signal that it was MY turn to exact retribution. The braggart had said that he'd gotten an autograph from Woody Hayes and I said, "Hey, Doug, did I tell you that my aunt's grandfather's cousin's nephew's husband waved to JACK ELAM?" Doug and Carl both did spit-takes with liquid coming through Doug's nostrils while Carl was choking and sputtering and saying "JACK ELAM? No, not JACK ELAM! He waved to JACK ELAM! Can I meet that guy who actually waved to JACK ELAM?"

I always thought that saying "Jack Elam" was the funny part but they thought the "waving" was the best part, so waving was always included in the future routines.

After that the signal was, "You're up, JACK!"

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