Saturday, July 19, 2008


I have fond memories of the TV series Get Smart back in the sixties, so it’s no surprise that I also enjoyed the current movie by the same name. I remember trying to cleverly pepper my stories with phrases like “Sorry about that!” and “Would you believe?” and I remember my dad doing the same thing. It makes me laugh just to hear someone talk that way again.

Get Smart came to us for the first time at about the same time as a new discount store in Crystal called Target. It was owned by the top retailer in our area, Dayton’s, and no one else in the world knew anything about it. Would you believe that the name Dayton’s was once on storefronts all over the Twin Cities and that the name Target was on only one? Would you believe that some forty years later a former stripper named Diablo Cody would choose that same Crystal Target as a place to pen her Academy Award winning screenplay, Juno?

Back in the day, Target was simply our neighborhood bargain basement store. My friends and I jokingly called it “Tar-ZHAY,” as if it were an exclusive French boutique. We all shopped there, but none of us admitted that anything we wore actually came from there because we considered ourselves far too sophisticated for Target couture.

For me, “Sorry about that!” “Would you believe?” and “Tar-ZHAY” are words and phrases that I once used as often as kids today use “Whatever.” or “Ya think?”. Another favorite of mine at the time was “co-inky-dink.” Like most young teenagers, I was fascinated with the supernatural. My friends and I brought out ouija boards at slumber parties. We “oohed” and “aahed” over songs about kids with mysterious and tragic deaths such as” Leader of the Pack” by the Shangri Las and “Strange Things Happen” by Dickey Lee. We scared the daylights out of our freshmen “little sisters” when we drove them to a graveyard and abandoned them there as part of a prank. Sorry about that!

Co-inky-dink was our word for anything that we considered coincidental. It was not limited to situations where two or more events happened to occur at the same time, but was used more broadly to infer that supernatural powers must have been involved for something to take place because we believed that whatever happened must have been more than just a chance occurrence. It was also assumed that there was some mystical reason for this co-inky-dink to occur and that made for a lot of “oohing” and “aahing” and fun speculation on our part. I still think it’s a fun word and I had a chance to use it myself this week.

I don’t know how many Golden Retrievers are in the Helping Paws breeding program, but I just learned the names of two of them: Maisie and Summer. Maisie is the name of our last Golden Retriever and Somer is the name of my daughter who is eagerly awaiting a puppy. That is a bit of a co-inky-dink.

Maisie and Summer are not popular pet names. Would you believe there are only two Maisies and five Summers at our veterinary clinic? (There are also 2 Maiseys, 1 Maise, 8 Maisys, 2 Maizys, 3 Mazys and 1 Somer.) Meanwhile, there are 431 dogs and cats that answer to the name Sam, including those named Sammy, Sampson, Samantha, Sammie, Sammi, Samuel, Samson, Samwise, Samsyn, Samual and Sammy Porkchop. There are 312 dogs and cats called Buddy. There are 334 dogs and cats called Max, including those named Maxi, Maximus, Maxine, Maxwell, Maximillion, Maxx and (Would you believe?) Maxwell Smart.

It is possible that the mother of the Helping Paws litter this fall and the mother of our puppy will be a Golden Retriever named, not Sam or Buddy or Max, but Summer or Maisie. That would be quite a co-inky-dink!


Emilia said...

When I worked at the clinic, one of my favorite things was discovering the crazy names people gave their pets! The all-time weirdest one I can remember? K-Mart. Can you remember a weirder one?

ssd said...

The name that upsets Somer the most is Unwanted. What a horrible name for a pet! Do you remember the book or movie Because of Winn-Dixie? In the story the little girl finds her dog in the Winn-Dixie store. Maybe K-Mart was found (or sold) in a K-Mart store or parking lot.