Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Smudge

We were at Huber’s Restaurant in Portland last weekend watching the magician perform sleight of hand at the table next to us and discussing nicknames.

I will digress here and mention that Huber’s is Portland’s oldest restaurant, opening its doors in 1879. I had the roast turkey, for which Huber’s is famous, and it was as tender and succulent as any I have ever eaten. I finished my meal with Huber’s other specialty: Spanish Coffee, a choice that delighted my daughter during its table-side preparation because it is set aflame.

But back to the nicknames.

My daughter asked to be called “Rose,“ as she was pretending to be a pirate. I had bought her a pirate hat and an eye patch at a toy shop in downtown Portland, and she figured “Rose” was a great name for a girl pirate.

I then told my daughter my nickname (which I made up on the spot): “From now on,” I announced, “you must call me The Smudge.”

My daughter despised the very idea of calling me The Smudge, moreso after I told her what a “smudge” was.

“That,” I said, pointing to a smudge on my sneaker, “is a smudge.”

“I am not calling you that,“ she flatly declared. And each time, during the weekend, that I brought up the subject of my wanting everyone to call me by my new nickname, my daughter stubbornly refused to even discuss it.

And so it was.

I walked into the house after work last night, passing my wife and daughter, who were seated together in the kitchen.

“Hello, everyone!” I cried.

“Hello, The Smudge,” my daughter shot back, without so much as a smirk or a sideways glance.