Eagle Eye

September 11, 2020

I’ve never had a cool nickname.

 

I’m not saying I’ve never had a nickname. As far as I know, I haven’t, and at this point in my life, if there’s a nickname out there I’ve been unaware of for the last half century, I’m guessing I don’t want to know.

Seriously. If my friends have been calling me “Brent the Bozo” behind my back since 1971, I’m okay without knowing.

 

I do remember when I was about 12, I lobbied for “Eagle Eye Olson,” but it didn’t take. And that is a long, painful story we won’t go into here.

 

This train of thought came to mind after the latest kerfuffle with our president. I was reading about the battle of Belleau Wood and came across the story of a Marine Corps officer named Major John Hughes.  His nickname was “Johnny the Hard.” 

 

How cool is that?

 

I dug a little deeper into the story and discovered that he received the nickname because during a battle in Veracruz, Mexico, he was shot in the leg, which resulted in a compound fracture.

 

Which he set himself.

 

So not worth it. I mean, I’d like a cool nickname but…damn.

 

Sadly, there are many examples in life when the price for a cool nickname is just higher than I’d be willing to pay.

 

For instance, a hundred years ago in Ireland, there was a member of the O’Railly clan who went by the title of The O’Railly. During the 1916 Easter Uprising, he led a diversion that enabled many of the Irish rebels to escape the English troops. He was hit by machine gun fire and the English troops shut off the street so no help could reach him. He slowly, over the course of hours, bled to death.

 

Any war is horrible, and civil wars are the worst, but do you really think the British would have acted this way if he’d just been, “…one of those O’Railly boys from around the corner.”

 

On the plus side, Bruce Springsteen has been called “The Boss” since the 60’s and no one seems to be shooting at him.

 

So, maybe there’s a chance for a nickname that doesn’t involve excruciating pain or death. But what should it be? I don’t really have any outstanding characteristics. The first idea that popped into my head was “Brent the Boring and Usually Competent.”

 

It doesn’t really sing. 

 

I asked my wife for suggestions and she, no doubt thinking of the times she’s mumbled words I can’t quite hear under her breath as she’s looming over me with a bloody wash cloth, suggested something to commemorate the number of times I’ve run into something sharp and/or hard with my head. Al Pacino and Al Capone already have dibs on “Scarface.” The other thing that came to mind was, “Noggin of the Scars.”

 

Get that? Like Dancing with the Stars, only different.

 

Anyway, after I wrote this, she added a clarifying statement that a lot of my scars aren’t on the outside.  That’s not really grounds for a nickname, because everyone has those scars.

 

Everyone. Nothing unique about that.

 

I’ll figure something out. I wish I could just rely on other people to tag me with a nifty nickname, but I’m afraid other people just aren’t to be trusted.

 

After all, the world did pass on calling me Eagle Eye.

That’s my final thought. You might look at someone and think to yourself, “Bozo.” What you need to remember is that, in his heart of hearts, that bozo might be thinking he’s an “Eagle Eye.”

 

So. Be nice.

 

Copyright 2020 Brent Olson

 

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