This last week, in the middle of the night, The South (with the requisite Capital Letters) welcomed its newest 'Good Ol Boy', who just happens to have a terrific Grandpa. Me.
One of our daughters (we have 5 between us) had another child, and he is just the cutest thing. Now, being a grandpa is nothing new to me. Between us, my wife and I now have 8 and by the end of July we will have 10. My oldest of that generation is in his teens.
The one thing I've noted about Southern Kids and Southern Grandfathers is the nick names. I've heard these Suthun men called "Paw-Paw", and "Pa-Paw" and even "Pop-Pop". I'm sorry, I will not be called by a name which sounds like a poorly tuned motorboat and one that stutters at that. No. Sorry, not me, thank you, but no.
So. What, then? Grandfather is just a bit too formal. That's what them Nawthen kids call their father's father. Grandad? Sounds like a nice brand of bourbon. Oh, how about 'Granpere'? No, that makes me sound like I need to be drinking brandy at 2 in the afternoon as I receive the grand kids in the library. (Yes, Jeeves, show the progeny in, won't you?) Now that leaves "Grandpa" which I have to admit, reminds me of my own grandpa, a man who drove my mother nuts by trying to fix things he could not whenever he came to visit. (Hey, things I work on get fixed...but regardless...) No, 'Grandpa' is not for me.
After many hours of thought (I had a long nap) what I've come up with then, is (drum roll please) G-Man. Short, and to the point and modern; it's also easier on the tongue and most assuredly it is unique. (This is not to be confused with the G-Man in the Video Game. I am not a video game, though I am interactive.)
Why G-Man? I've given this some thought. Let's compare these stereotypes using my own experiences and knowledge:
Grandpa is a nice old man who sits around the house reading the newspaper, books on gardening and fly tying.
G-Man works for the Government and reads Mystery Novels and does Sudoku.
Ya starting to see the theme yet?
Grandpa carries a pocket knife. It has two blades which he uses to whittle and to clean his nails.
G-Man carries a Pocket Efficiency Instrument, it has a sharp blade, a can opener, bottle opener, flat head screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, tweezers, corkscrew, a flashlight and a pen. It is rumored to also have a blue laser and a GPS device, but no one really knows for sure.
I'm liking this more and more.
Grandpa is married to 'Grandma.' She is a kindly old woman with gray hair who wears a frumpy house-dress most of the day as she bakes cookies and listens to NPR.
G-Man is married to a woman known only as 'Delta.' She's got dark brown hair, brown eyes and a figure unlike any 'grandma' ever had. She wears jeans with a skull on the pocket (In fact, most of her clothes have skulls on them.) She has a day-of-the-dead sugar-skull tattoo and listens to Heavy Metal music.
Grandpa wears hearing aids,
G-Man wears computerized hearing devices.
Grandpa can help you put the chain on your bike.
G-Man can help you wire you house with Cat-5, install a wireless router and fix your laptop. He can also help you set up a blog.
(This next one's my favorite.)
Grandpa takes you fishing.
G-Man takes you on Missions. "G-man, I gotta go to the bathroom." "OK TEAM, HUDDLE UP. YOU, on my 6, we take the quick route through the kitchen, up the stairs to the target area. I'll enter first, clear the room and then watch the door for intruders while you take care of business. You need help with the paper, you shout the code word 'MR WHIPPLE" - OK? On my mark....MOVE OUT!"
Grandpa dreams of buying an old classic car to rebuild and tinker with.
G-Man dreams of buying this:
gadgets and secret weapons!
Extra points if you already knew this.)
I don't expect 'G-Man' to catch on here in the south. In fact, I expect to be the only one. I just hope the G-Kids understand it all.