Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Gift of Innocence

The dinner music of choice this evening was the only Christmas album I will allow in my house: The Reverend Horton Heat's We Three Kings. For the uninitiated, The Reverend delivers up a selection of Christmas favorites in his surf rock, rockabilly style. They are soaked in bourbon and disillusionment and lost innocence and, in my humble opinion, go a long way to capture the actual spirit of the holiday season. The album starts off with a rollicking version of Frosty the Snowman that my jBird has loved since she called it "car seat the no-man".

As the album started, jBird commented between bites of blueberry pancakes: "Frosty is really the best name for a snowman." Which, of course, rattled loose a random memory from the Mama Vault.

When I was in 3rd or 4th grade - way back when the earth's crust was cooling and Soviets still roamed the land and public schools still had state-funded art and music programs - our entire grade worked on a papier-mâché snowman that, when it was completed, stood over six feet tall and had giant glittery LSD eyes. There was a school-wide contest to name the behemoth and the winner would be the lucky child to drag it across the stage on a dolly during our winter program while we all sang Frosty the Snowman. How cool is that?! Of course, the competition was stiff, but I was sure I had it in the bag. I had pulled out my ace in the hole. The best name for a snowman, ever: Hucklebug. 

I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking. I have no idea why I was so positive that all of my classmates would agree that Hucklebug was the quintessential snowman name, but I was completely shocked when I got not a single vote for my name of choice. 

"Hucklebug?!" jBird interrupted, "That's not a snowman name! No wonder no one voted for you! I think a good name would be Icicle or maybe Stardust."

"Ooh! Stardust!" the Hooligan piped up, "From now on, I want all of you to call me Mr. Stardust!"

jBird: "OK, Mr. Stardust. So, Mama, what name won?"

"Mr. Sparkles."

jBird made a face and said "Well, that's better than Hucklebug, but it's not terribly creative."

Exactly! That's what I thought then, that's what I think now and I'm sticking by it. In hindsight, the consolation is that the girl who came up with Mr. Sparkles was a shy girl who never won anything, so it was pretty cool that she got that honor and got to tote the teetering, careening giant snowman across the stage. I also am big enough to admit now that Hucklebug is not a good name for anything, much less a snowman. But Mr. Sparkles?! Really? You're telling me that's the best that all those bright young minds could come up with? I felt so vindicated that the jBird was pickin' up what I was puttin' down. 

We spent the rest of the meal trying to come up with the best snowman name. Well, three of us did and one of us kept insisting we call him Mr. Stardust. We were beginning to think that perhaps jBird was correct in her assessment from the very beginning - maybe Frosty really was the best name for a snowman - when jBird waved her hands around in the universal sign language for "Ooh! Brainstorm! Brilliance! IknowIknowIknow!"

"I have one better than Frosty," she announced proudly, "Whitey."

Innocence is truly a rare gift in these times. No need to take it away too early.


  1. That would be really neat if the Mr. Sparkles name won because the judges wanted to give the shy girl a boost to her self-confidence! That would have made it all worthwhile

  2. "Hucklebug" must've come from that collective storehouse of random childhood brilliance. I think my daughter (then 6) probably stopped by there just before she announced one morning, "I'm Dr. Ashklomash Coco Peppermint."

    As for "Whitey"--I had a step-great uncle who went by that name. Pale, portly, covered in a pelt of white hair and prone to wearing white tank tops which showed off his hairy/flabby arms. I guess from a distance he might be mistaken for a (very disturbing) snowman.

  3. PS--I was deeply disappointed that my word verification was not a snowman-appropriate name. ;)

  4. Whitey! That had me ROFL..... Frosty is a great name for a snowman, but Mr. Sparkles? I didn't think the Twilight vampires were around back then.

  5. Your "Whitey" name picking reminded me of my wikipedia reading of rock musician Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.

    Steven Victor Tallarico was born March 26, 1948 in Yonkers, New York, the son of Susan (née Blancha, died July 2008), a secretary, and Victor A. Tallarico (died September 10 2011), a classical musician and pianist. His father was of Italian and German descent and his mother was of Polish, Russian and English ancestry (his maternal grandfather had changed his surname from "Czarnyszewicz" to "Blancha," keeping it Polish, but changing the name's meaning, from Black to White).

  6. I think jBird was correct with the original opinion that Frosty is the best name, but I loved the spirited family discussion that accompanies the piece. Speaking of discussion, when I left Masked Mom's site, after a particularly verbose offering, the word verification was "mushmuth." That's me. Old Mush-mouth.

  7. Mr Sparkles????? I mean, that's as lame as Snowball for the white kitty we once had. I strongly prefer Hucklebig , though I might make it Mister Hucklebug......
    and Mr. Stardust - LOVE it!
    I want to be in your family!

  8. Just smiles from my corner, all-around :)

    Also, my 4 year old and 2 year old call each other silly names constantly, eg.Mr Potato Head, Mr Sleepy, etc. Always Mr. something, regardless of sex. We were out in public somewhere recently, and my daughter (ever the wallflower) yelled as loud as she could across the store at her brother, "Hey, Mr. Paki!!! Come see this!". Innocence indeed. It was a made-up name

  9. Oh boy. Mr. Hucklebug. I laughed. I also loved car seat the snowman.. . are all geniuses.

  10. Yipe! My husband wanted to name the feral kitties who lived in our backyard in Phoenix Tarbabies and insisted there was nothing wrong with that. I, however, almost passed out every time he said it and had to look around me before typing it here.

  11. WOO HOO for the Reverend Horton Heat!

    It's probably not quite time to introduce your Mr. Stardust to the original Mr. (Ziggy) Stardust, huh?


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