Friday, May 09, 2008

Names I Have Been Called

Jesus: Is He really a true Irishman?
Since moving to Glasgow, the variety in names I'm called by strangers has increased dramatically. In Seattle, I admit, the 'Jesus' count was pretty high, but, other than one lady on the Ave who asked me if I was a 'true Irishman', Seattleites have been fairly unimaginative.

Contrary to the opinions of many Americans, I actually do not 'fit in perfectly' in Scotland, and my (suave? distinctive? grotesque?) appearance has elicited comments from people on the street with surprising frequency. Among the more imaginative names I can now claim - in addition to a still-rising 'Jesus' count - are 'Hillbilly Willy', 'Scooby Doo', and, oddly, 'Kelsey' (the person who called me 'Kelsey' also asked if my thumb was broken and whether I was Amish). Other helpful comments directed my way have included 'your face is on fire' and 'look at the state of him...'

Yesterday was a two-pointer, with one more 'Jesus' and an entirely new one to my experience: 'Worzel Gummidge'. I was particularly surprised at this last comment, because, personally, I had never seen the resemblance. For those of you who don't know (probably nearly everyone who reads this), Worzel Gummidge was the main character in a British children's TV show from the 1970s. He was played by John Pertwee, who some of you (Dad?) will recognize as the third (and third least annoying) Doctor Who. The Worzel Gummidge character is perhaps even more perplexing than the Doctor: he is a mischievous talking scarecrow with a set of interchangeable heads. My friend James' experience verifies that, despite the (ostensible) good intentions of the show's writers, such disturbing imagery often had a traumatic effect on children.

Presumably, my similarity to Worzel Gummidge is limited to my shaggy hair (time for a trim) and possession of a hat. I'd like to think that my Glaswegian commenter regards me as a potential friend, a welcome addition to West End culture, rather than a macabre pastoral oddity.

P.S. Here are some clips from the show, if you like to scare yourself:

  • The introduction
  • A frightening song after which Worzel Gummidge verbally abuses children. Observe their terrified expressions.
  • Part of a distressing episode involving a seesaw and free tobbacco

Which is the real Worzel Gummidge?


Robb said...

Wow, that is awesome.

I really had no idea that strangers were calling you all these names.

What is the "Kelsey" reference?

Joel A. Shaver said...

As far as I know, it wasn't a reference...

William Scott Mc Cafferty said...

Dude! You are Worzel Gummage, you dress far better than he does! and you aren't stuck to a pole!

I remember the face is on fire one as you told me about that on the day it happened.

My advice, just be the same lovable you that you have always been mate! I would hate to think the Shaver I know would change to suit public demand. (I know I don't, just look at my blog!)

William Scott Mc Cafferty said...

PS Wheres the link to my blog!!!!!

Joel A. Shaver said...

The link is there - look under 'Squilliam'!

William Scott Mc Cafferty said...

Ahhhhhhh now I seeee

We need most posts joel! I have lots of content on mine!

Dave & Vicky Emmerson said...

Joel you totally forgot to include the time that you were called a 'Ginger Todger' by a Glasgow NED!

Justin said...

You're not nearly ugly enough to be Worzel. My favorite part is that the opening theme is in the Bass Trombone.