The doorman’s real name was Paddy, but everyone knew him as Grumpy Crotch; Grumpy because he was grumpy and Crotch because he walked as if he had sand in his pants. Somehow the nickname made sense. His job was to welcome tourists to the town’s popular aquarium.
There was never a “Welcome” from his lips. Instead it would be a gruff “Don’t tap on the glass” or “Don’t throw food to the alligators”. One day he caught some kids tapping on the glass of an aquarium to try to get the plecostomus to move. He told them off in no uncertain terms so they pushed him over the railing into the alligator enclosure. This was despite his warning not to throw food to the alligators.
Murphy had been Murphy’s mother’s maiden name. He was not particularly enamoured of it. Most people, before they laid eyes on him, wondered if Murphy was going to be a boy or a girl. Once they laid eyes on him of course there was no mistaking his gender. Murphy was a boy!
His father had hailed from Madagascar.
One of the things that Murphy liked about his name was the nickname he had been given at school: Spud. Murphy was the colloquial name for a potato. It sort of rhymed with Stud and Bud and Crud and Mud. In fact from about the age of fifteen he started to introduce himself as Spud. “Hi,” he would say extending a hand of introduction, “I’m Spud Rajaonarimampianina.”
Even his mother sometimes called him Spud.
When Spud got married his wife’s name was Marsha. It didn’t take long for some to start calling her Mash. Mashed Spud were quite the couple around town. Everyone knew who Mashed Spud were. In fact, Mash was the chairperson of the local School Board and Spud was elected to the City Council. It helped that no one knew how to pronounce Rajaonarimampianina.