I have probably known Gooby since he was about 2 days old. I’m one year and one day older than him. Our parents lived 2 houses apart and were always friends. That being the case, I’m fairly certain that when his Mom came home from the hospital with the new baby, my Mom scooped me up and went over to visit Mother Gooby and her new offspring. Of course the most obvious question is, how did he get the nickname Gooby? That started when we were all about 10 or 11 years old. At the end of our street was a police station. Each winter the snow plows would create huge mountains of snow on the edges of the parking lot when they cleared it. As boys, Gooby, Tom and I would play a reverse King of the Hill kind of game. We’d climb to the top of one of these snow piles and one of us would expectorate a big, green goober upon the top of the hill. Then as soon as someone said, “GO!” we would battle to push each other onto the top of the mountain. Gooby, as a 10 year old had the physical build of a newborn deer, all spindly bones and no muscle mass whatsoever. Needless to say, he lost our pre-pubescent manhood contest more often than not and ended up with a frozen goober stuck to his parka. And so a nickname was born. Apparently a few years later, his father, who was not pleased that the nickname had stuck (pun intended) declared to someone, “I will not have a son of mine called Gooby!” Shaking in fear from this proclamation issued by an authority figure, we responded by promptly nicknaming Gooby’s father “Colt” for his resemblance to Lee Majors’ character in the ground breaking 70’s action adventure series The Fall Guy. (As you can see, our little group was fond of nicknaming almost everyone. Yes, I have a nickname too, and I’ll get to that eventually.) As I mentioned, Gooby grew up with a body that most closely resembled whichever of the Olsen twins had the eating disorder. Then in high school and college a funny thing happened. Gooby started eating a lot of protein and working out. Now his physique resembles that of The Thing from the Fantastic Four movie previews, only Gooby is a lot hairier. Two years ago during Golden Boy weekend we went to his mother’s house to swim in her pool and drink her beer. While we were there his 60 year old mother came home to find three 30-something men swimming in her pool and drinking her beer. One of the three men asked his mother if she would shave his back for him. Gooby then let his mother lather him up and attempt to shave his back with a razor. That was like trying to take down a forest with a lawnmower. Overall, Gooby is the quintessential nice guy and the glue that holds the Golden Boys together. Whenever any of us has anything serious going on in our personal lives, tragedies, triumphs or elective surgeries, we confide in Gooby, even though we know he tells the other three everything when we’re not there.
Self-proclaimed grand poobah of leisure and author of humorous suspense novels The Sneaker Tree & White Picket Prisons, the humor essay book Fifty Shades of Phil and the long running blog The Phil Factor. thephilfactor.com
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