A well-known tactic of the name-remembering incompetent is to use one ‘name’ for everyone when you can’t remember their names. In the sixties Uncle Jack Kemp used to call everyone ‘Cock’. ‘Hello Cock!’ he’d say and you could see his mind racing: Just WHO is this again? I mean, I know him but what’s his name again?! ‘How’re you Cock?’ In the eighties Peppy Peeperkorn, a delightful nurse friend at Addington Hospital when I was sentenced to live there by the army used to call everyone ‘Chicken Legs’! ‘Hey, Chicken Legs! What you doin’?’
I sometimes use Green Cheese: Have you fed Green Cheese yet? WHO!? You know: TC, Matt, Bogie, Shadow, Sambucca! SAMBUCCA! You know I meant Sambucca.
So I made the mistake of asking Tom after one of his home school lessons: ‘What did old Green Cheese teach you today?’ He cracked up and has called his tutor Green Cheese ever since, my protests and explanation and Hey, you don’t DO that! falling on delighted deaf ears.
This morning I overheard him as he walked in to start his lesson “Hey! That’s my chair! It’s made for my arse, not an old Green Cheese arse!’
He should get a klap on his ear from his older, bigger, cleverer, more capable, more focused third year economics student tutor, but instead – as so often with Tom – he gets away with it.