A Rose by Any Other Name, Etc.

Damon Runyon

DEAR SIR I forgot to tell you that we named the twins Cornelius and Constance for my wife Ethel’s Pops and Moms but we had quite a discussion about the matter first.

I wanted to name the boy Eisenhower MacArthur Turp but Ethel ses no, he should be named Joseph after me and the girl should be named Josephine because quite awhile ago when we were talking about names for just one child I ses to Ethel, suppose you have twins what will you name them, and she ses I will name them Joseph and Josephine.

I ses Ethel, why do you want to name the girl Josephine when we do not even know anybody by that name and she ses well, it will sound nice with Joseph. I ses there is not going to be any Joseph because I told you once before I will not have my son going through life like I did with everyone wise cracking to him hello, Joe, what do you know.

I ses you can name the girl what you please and you can name the boy what you please, too, except Joseph. I ses personally I like the name of Ethel for the girl, and Ethel ses no, Joe, that is out, too. I think one Ethel in the family is enough but I wish you would think over how Joseph and Josephine swings.

I ses I wish I could name the boy for my Pops but his name was Joseph, too, so what about your Pops? Ethel ses why that will be wonderful, Joe. We will call the boy Cornelius. I ses all right then we might as well go all the way and name the girl for your Moms although those names will cause a lot of confusion in this family. I ses we will be calling both of them Connie.

Ethel ses we will not. We will only call the little girl Connie. We will call the little boy Con. I think that’s even cuter than Joseph and Josephine, Joe. Con and Connie. What do you think? I ses Ethel, I was thinking of calling the boy something for a nickname like Puggy and she ses Oh, please Joe, never call him a nickname. Nicknames are so common.

I ses I have heard you calling him Bubber already and that is surely a nickname and I have heard you calling the little girl Sissy which is also a nickname and I have heard your Pops call them both pollywogs and Ethel ses it was only because we had not decided on the regular names and I had to call them something.

I ses Ethel a good nickname is very handy sometimes and she ses for instance the one they used to call you when you was a boy, I suppose? I ses who told you about any nickname of mine when I was a boy? Ethel ses why, Joe Turp, do I need somebody to tell me something about you when you was a boy when we were practically children together only you were quite a bit older? Haven’t I known you all my life? Do you want me to remind you what the nickname was?

I ses Oh, you probably heard somebody call me some nickname just once but it wasn’t a regular nickname that I had all the time. Ethel ses I seem to have heard it quite a lot of times. The nickname I heard was Rabbit Ears, Joe. Would you like to have your son Cornelius called Rabbit Ears? I ses no, Ethel, not any more than you would like to have your daughter called Chubby.

Ethel ses humph. I ses humph yourself. She ses Oh, no one ever called me that except a few of the girls in school and probably that old Abby Schultz reminded you of it. Besides it wouldn’t mean anything now, would it Joe? I mean I am not somebody to be nicknamed Chubby any more, am I?

I ses I should say not, Ethel, but I am not so sure about your daughter Constance unless you start putting her on one of those diets you used to follow right away.

Yours truly