Adios, Wanker

I once had a friend who had an aunt named Priscilla. They called her Prissy. I saw her all the time and, in greeting, I would say, “Hi. How are you?” There was no way I was going to say, “Hi, Prissy.”

That same friend’s father was called Hy. I always felt ridiculous saying, “Hi, Hy.” I tried “Hey, Hi,” but that obviously didn’t work either. “Hello, Hi,” felt very stiff and stilted. I thought of addressing him by his proper name, but I was a teenager still learning reproductive anatomy; I broke into snorts of laughter at the idea of saying, “Hi Hyman.” Finally, I decided to always greet him with, “How ya’ doin’, Hy?”


The bartender at the restaurant Sandpiper (where our friend Darren is the chef) is named Juan Carlos (like the King of Spain). Juan Carlos is a very formal name and his friends and family don’t use it. The typical nickname for Juan Carlos is “Juanca,” and that’s how this Juan Carlos has always been known.

Juanca’s 10-year-old cousin was in the neighborhood one afternoon with his parents. They stopped in to say hello. As they exited the crowded restaurant, the little boy called back, “Adios, Juanca!” The British patrons were appalled. One “prissy” woman was heard to mutter, “That ill-mannered little boy just called out, “Good-bye, Wanker!”

And that’s why everyone now calls him “Juan Carlos.”


Passing by Sandpiper this morning, I snapped the below photo specifically for this story. Ana, one of the owners, came running outside and struck a pose for me. I snapped that photo, too, but I’ll save it for another time. I think she’d prefer that when she finds out this one’s about the “Juanca” that works behind the bar.


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

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