Well, That Was Close


I love telling the story of Joey’s name.

When we found out we were having a boy, the negotiations began with Elvis Aaron and ended with Joey Ramone.

Only, I usually leave the whole middle part out. You know, those final months of pregnancy where time stands still and your ankles become the size of fat chihuahuas.

Joey was nearly certain to be a Charlie.

In the months between Elvis and Joey, we settled on Charles Ernest. My dad’s middle name and Randy’s dad’s middle name. We very nearly named our precious son after two of the worst people we knew. Seriously, between my dad and Randy’s dad, they represented damn near all the behaviors that make people assholes.

I look back and wonder what the fuck we were thinking. I’m also happy we changed our minds. Joey is Joey, he could never be anyone else.

Randy and I were talking recently about the time we’re fairly certain I had a miscarriage.

I hadn’t taken a test yet, but had all the symptoms and we started calling the maybe baby, “Gus”.

And then I wasn’t pregnant.

Joey had never heard that story.

Me: Yeah, you were conceived about 6 months later.

He looked at me with concern, and I thought for a moment he was going to offer me sympathy.

Joey: Yeah, fuck that kid.


Joey: Gus tried to take my place.

Me: He totally would have.

Joey: You can’t trust a Gus.

Saturday, we met a friend of Randy’s at Wooden Cask brewery.

Joey and I decided to play Trivial Pursuit.

I forgot how to play. I mean, I know you answer questions and get pie, but not real pie, which in itself makes the game somewhat unsatisfying.

So, Joey had to read the directions because I didn’t have any readers in my purse.

You can find readers all over my house, conveniently located under couch cushions, behind a kitty bed or perhaps on top the fridge where I can’t actually see them. But a pair in my purse? Why would I do that? What could I possibly need to see outside the confines of my home?

Anyway, Joey meant to say the players went clockwise, but said “clockwards” instead. I actually like clockwards better. Joey made a valiant effort, but he lost.

Because I am a good mom, I accepted my win with grace and compassion.

I threw my arms over my head and said “Haha, I’m smart. You’re dumb.”

I’m not sure Randy’s friend knows that is how we show affection in our family. I mean, to be honest, I don’t know for sure Joey knows either.

I’m writing about Joey because he spent Sunday afternoon canoeing with friends.

My brain was super happy because it was in the mood for generating enough anxiety to make the inside of my mouth taste like metal. I had visions of angry, churning rapids. Jagged rocks everywhere for him to bash his head on. Malevolent, underwater tree roots waiting to trap a humongous size 12 foot and drag him under.

All of this is completely unreasonable. Nothing about it makes sense, but try telling my brain that. I mean, really. Try. Because I do and it has no effect at all.

Joey made it home safe and sound.

He did tip out of the canoe a few times. He said the water was only waist deep.

He did say it was really cold water. He got a chill. I wasn’t too far off.


Photo courtesy of Free Photos.


About the author


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • So, your new page doesn’t have a ‘like’ button – at least not one I can find. How will you EVER know that I’m avidly reading your blog unless I comment? And mostly, I’m just too lazy to do that. Just psychically know that I’m here – you being one of the few bright spots of my week.

  • So Joey spent the weekend chillin’.
    Yes, that’s a terrible joke, but it’s not as bad as the ones he would have had to put up with if his middle name had been Ernest and people found out. They’d be constantly asking him how Vern was and making Oscar Wilde jokes. Yeah, that would be me, although I respect Jim Varney who was really a pretty smart guy and when he was being treated for cancer he went down to his hospital’s pediatric ward and entertained kids who also had cancer.
    I’m glad Joey is Joey, though. I’ve never even met him and I’m glad. Go figure.

  • Funny, you wrote “my dad’s middle name” and I was all “what kind of drugs were you on?” Glad it worked out. Joey is a great name. And is it just me or did you change your website?

    • We did change the site. WordPress decided it could no longer work with the theme I had and it crapped out. And yes, I have no idea what drugs we were on, but there weren’t any good.

  • I have my uncle’s middle name and my brother had my uncle’s first name as his middle name. My parents drew a blank when I was born and the nurse threatened to put Baby McFall on my birth certificate if they didn’t come up with something, so my sister named me after the newscaster Douglas Edwards. My mom vetoed the Edwards part and gave me Ray, my uncle’s middle name.
    It would be rad to be named after Joey Ramone.
    Never went canoeing, but I did inner tube down the Klamath river numerous times while my parents fished for steelhead. I was immediately bored with that as I found steelhead less than delicious. Rainbow trout or brook trout are great, and I love salmon, but steelhead have the oily texture of salmon, but without the pink meat and salmon flavor. I didn’t want to add to the steelhead stash, so I negotiated with my parents to bail out of the boat about half way up the river and meet them back at the dock in Requa.
    It wasn’t an easy negotiation, as the things that could go wrong are numerous, but having successfully negotiated motocross racing gave me the practice I needed to prevail.
    Does this make my decision not to have children make any more sense?
    Dealing with me as a child is not something I would wish on anyone, much less myself and some luckless female who had no idea what she was signing up for, so I just never did it.
    My parents probably found that decision grossly unfair, because why should I get out of all of that stress and chaos?
    Not having any good answer to that, I’ll instead quote a very wise man: “Yeah, fuck that kid.”

    • Hahaha…you could do worse than quoting my kid, he’s a clever guy. Sometimes exasperating, but always a Joy. BTW a band you’ve mentioned before are coming here for a free show and I think Randy and I might go. Cloud Nothings? Or am I thinking of someone else?

  • My daughter was 1 month old before we finally named her. “Just give her a name already!”, said my mother. But it had to be right.
    Nice new look BTW 🙂

  • I LOVE the part of the story where you and Joey are talking about Gus. Can you adopt me, so Joey can be my baby brother? I don’t think my actual baby brother will mind not being the baby anymore, since he’s got his own house full of littles. 😉

    Also, LOVE the new site design. Purple’s my favorite color, so I’ll probably start visiting more often than only-when-I-blog, which is very INfrequent.

  • Nope, it wasn’t me, although they do sound interesting… I’ll have to check them out.
    For some reason I wasn’t able to comment by using the reply button below your response, so I hope this makes sense to you wherever it shows up.

  • I also have readers all over the house, I just bought another three pack of them from Marshall’s, because…well, because I can never find any. I also have a son named Joey, he’s a Joseph, and mostly called Joe, after my brother Joey, who named his son Joseph Jr., who is also Joey, known as “Little Joey”. It’s my favorite name, and Joseph is my favorite child. I’m glad he was okay canoeing, it’s torture to be a concerned parent, no matter how grown up they are.

By Michelle


RSIH in your inbox