03 August, 2012

Tommy Two Shirts

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Except ... I always wanted a nickname. To my parents I was Thomas. To my pre-adulthood friends I was Tommy. I still am in both cases. Then sometime in college I became Thom - with an "h." I mean, come on! Tom Brown? How pedestrian can one get? How prosaic? Surely an "h" would set me apart from the crowd. I would be Some-body - accent on the Some.

Maybe. Then I married a first generation Italian-American and was submerged in a huge loving extended family. In theory and certainly according to stereotype, every Italian had a nickname. Tutto hanno un nome. Not, however, in my new family. I heard them refer to others with nicknames but not themselves. And we have all heard these nicknames. Snips. Luigi One Leg. Salvatore Four Eyes. The Quill. The Lemming. Freddo Fancy Pants. Or pick almost any Godfather character.

I wanted a nickname, but no one ever gave me one - although I had high hopes for a brief period after the film Mickie Blue Eyes was released. Didn't happen. I wasn't to be Tommy Blue Eyes, but I always kept my ear tuned for a nimble comment that might be used as a seed. I was looking for something based in truth but with a clever ring to it. All I knew for sure was that I didn't want to be The Professor - which I did occasionally hear. It sounded far too sinister - too many students never heard from again.

Then it happened. A couple of years ago I was visiting an old high school friend in my hometown, and he recalled the day I came to school wearing not one but two button-down collar shirts. I remember that day, but I'm not sure why I did it. I obviously thought I looked hunky (that's with a "u" not an "o"), and I have to admit that models today wear similar layered looks. That, however, was over 40 years ago. I guess I was ahead of my time. Way ahead. I'm cool like that.

So there you have it - I am Tommy Two Shirts. Of course, no one knows that, and no one calls me that. Nevertheless, I think it has a just the right qualcosa.

Next? I always wanted a sandwich named after me ...