Rick the Lion

Sisters don’t compare the size of each other’s shits do they? Do they pin one another down and dangle loogies over each other’s faces or have competitions for how long they can go without taking a shower? I wouldn’t know. I grew up with two brothers, one full and one step from my dad’s second marriage - Aaron and Tyler respectively, both two years my senior, and they did all of those things to and with me, quite often.

Aaron and I lived with our mom in Colorado and only saw Tyler during school breaks when we would fly out to California to visit my dad, and during those times, the three of us had the most twisted, hilarious, stinky, inappropriate kind of fun together. All we needed were our imaginations, some pencils, a tape recorder, and a whole lot of poop references. I have often wondered how different my childhood, and subsequent adulthood, would have been had I grown up with sisters. Perhaps there would not have been so many conversations based around butts. Perhaps so. But I have never wanted to trade my brothers for sisters, I don’t care how many times they farted on me.

And fart they did, a lot - on me, around me, whenever possible. They even had me record their creations on an old-style tape recorder, then juwhich one was the most melodious and of the lot. For the most part, I was on the receiving end of, or a mere assistant to most of their acts of buffoonery, never being able to take credit for any aromatic emissions or partake in contests for the grossest concoction of condiments they could swallow without puking. I was the little sister in the background, always craving to be one of the guys. However, one accomplishment I can take credit for, which has endured up until adulthood, and still endures, is the genesis of the absurd, disgusting nicknames we gave each other. I started that. But someone else, a new edition, finished it.

I started calling Aaron, Urine, at a very young age. I liked how angry it made him knowing that his name sounded similar to the scientific term for piss. I called him that for years, until one day he started calling me Aimless, which I thought was pretty creative. But then Aimless unfortunately morphed into Anus, which chafed me just as much or more than me calling Aaron Urine. But when we visited my dad, we needed something as tasteless and obscene to call Tyler. We couldn’t think of anything below the belt that would suffice, so we settled on Titler, which then shortened into Tit. It was perfect. Urine, Anus, and Tit - a trifecta of vulgar nicknames, which only we called one another.

Those names stuck for a few years, but for our twisted little minds, they weren’t enough. They needed something more - descriptors. At that time, the early eighties, young kids like us entertained ourselves with little books called Mad Libs. They were essentially notepad-style books with short stories on them. Sprinkled throughout each story were blank lines with which kind of word was needed to complete the sentence underneath the line. The game required two participants. One person held the notebook and read aloud to the other person the needed word whether it be a verb ending in ‘ing,’ a male or female name, an adjective, animal, and our favorites - parts of the body and types of liquids - so many disgusting combinations to choose from it was almost overwhelming. Sure we could have gone the pedestrian route and used words like ‘hand’ or ‘lemonade,’ but there was no way in hell our unhallowed childhood imaginations would have allowed us to make choices as virtuous as those. Our finished stories were filled with chunky diarrhea, hot piss, bloody butts, and big boobs, which in turn gave us great fodder for the additions to our nicknames. Aaron’s nickname henceforth became Bloody Chunky Urine. Mine morphed into Hairy Swollen Anus, and Tyler became Fat Milky Tit, the most wholesome of the bunch.

As we matured and our profane vocabulary expanded, our nicknames eventually got nicknames. My brothers sometimes called me Anus Licker. We often called Aaron Urinalysis. But it wasn’t until our younger brother Ian was born that Tit’s nickname changed, if only slightly, but in my opinion was the best version of them all.

Ian was much younger than the three of us, twelve years my junior, and fourteen years Aaron and Tyler’s junior, but God bless that kid for he tried his best to join in on our gross teenage humor. He didn’t understand most of it until later, but he called us by our nicknames anyway. It was endearing to hear a kindergartner say Anus, Urine, and Tit, much to our parents’ chagrins, but thankfully there is no stopping what comes out of a little kid’s mouth. Then one day, Aaron, Ian, and I were lounging around Dad’s house, the two of them probably trying to fart on me, as they were wont to do, and out of the blue, our five-year-old brother said, “Where’s Titsy?” and from thereinafter Titler/Tit/Fat Milky Tit, became forever known as Titsy.

Ian was for all intents and purposes an only child, which meant he never got the chance to invent a stupid language, record farts, or make up disgusting nicknames for his peer siblings, however, when he was still in diapers, he performed the most wonderful act of unintentional ingenuity that only we three clowns could truly appreciate. Unfortunately, none of us older siblings were present to witness the moment, so we had to hear it secondhand from my dad and stepmom who did not fully appreciate the glory of what had transpired. Ian must have been around three years old, just on the cusp of being potty trained. Apparently, he had been meandering about our parents’ bedroom, unsupervised, when he felt the urge to remove his diaper after having created a rather cumbersome load. With his diaper off, Ian somehow procured a wire hanger with which he used as an art implement, dipping the ends into his handiwork, dripping and splattering his medium, Jackson Pollock style, onto the new beige carpet and freshly painted ecru-colored walls. When my stepmom re-emerged, she had the fortuitousness of bearing witness to Ian’s wonderful creativity smeared all over the room. I can only imagine her reaction, and then I visualize my little naked brother with the remnants staining his chubby thighs, still holding onto the hanger with reckless toddler abandon. Dear God, I wish I could have been there to see his face, oblivious to the walls and carpet he had ruined, but moreover, I wish I could have entered his tiny developing mind to probe the impetus for his enterprise. What was he thinking?

The kid could have been an artist had he continued with a different medium. My older brothers and I may have considered going to the bathroom an art form, but Ian actually made it into art. Of course, he has no recollection of that marvelous day, but Ian’s unintended tribute to bathroom creativity takes the cake.  

We definitely could have nicknamed Ian after that event, but he was a mere tot, not quite ready for names like Aaron, Tyler, and I had given each other. But as he got a little older, he too desired a moniker of his own, like his older brothers and sister, Urine, Titsy, and me, Hairy Swollen Anus, or Anus Licker as it were.

Unfortunately, the three of us had outgrown Mad Libs when we entered high school, and then we all went away to college, leaving poor Ian behind with only his Gameboy, Nintendo, and our parents to entertain him - none of which produced the kind of toilet bowl crassness as Aaron, Tyler and I had had with one another.

Our visits to Dad’s house also became more sporadic with each passing year as we entered young adulthood, preferring to spend vacations getting drunk with college friends over coming home. But we still spent the big holidays together as a family. During one Christmas vacation at Dad’s, the four of us blended siblings were all hanging around in the living room not doing much of anything. Ian, still a young child, full of energy, was buzzing about hoping to distract us from watching TV or reading magazines, which was all we really did at Dad’s house during school breaks. Aaron, feeling pity for our hyperactive younger brother, put down his Sports Illustrated, and in an attempt to subdue Ian’s annoying energy by engaging him in conversation, asked, “Ian, if you could have any other name in the entire world, what name would you want?” Ian, already privy to our disgusting nicknames, could have chosen anything, any combination of body part and fluid or iteration of grossness that he wanted. But our innocent kid brother had not yet been muddled by my brothers’ and my crudeness. He pondered Aaron’s question for a few moments. I could see the little gears in his head turning as he was desperately trying to come up with something we would approve of. He then said, in his Mickey Mouse-pitched voice, “Hmm. I think maybe… Rick!”

Rick. That’s what he wanted his nickname to be. Not anything related to the bathroom, orifices, or bodily discharge. Just plain Rick.

My older brothers and I burst into laughter as we delighted in our little brother’s innocence and naïveté, which put a huge smile on Ian’s cherubic face. But Aaron felt this new moniker needed something else, a descriptor, like the three of us freaks had had. He then asked Ian if he could be any animal in the world, which one would he be. Again, Ian pondered the question in earnest, and within a few beats said, “A lion!”

        And there it was. Ian had finally consorted with his twisted siblings and from that day forward was known amongst the four of us as Rick the Lion. We never tried to get him to change it into something equally as disturbing as our nasty sobriquets, not even when he got older and learned just how filthy the three of us had been when we named one another at an age only a few years older than Ian had been at the time.

Throughout the years, we continued to use each other’s nicknames amongst ourselves, however, with Ian it was different. Because his nickname was another normal name, I continued, and still continue to call him Rick, rarely using his birth name, much to the confusion of anyone around us who is not in on the joke.

“Why do you call him Rick?”, people ask. “Isn’t his name Ian?”

“Funny you should ask…”, I say, and if time allows, I amuse myself at the behest of my audience with the tale of how Ian became known as Rick the Lion, never leaving out the origin of how it all began with three potty-mouthed siblings amusing ourselves with Mad Libs and grossly inappropriate language for our ages.

After telling our friends the history of our foul nicknames, they too try to think of new names for themselves, and oftentimes come up with some pretty creative combinations at which we all have a good laugh. But I know their handles won’t stick for long, not like my brothers’ and mine. The mere fact that we invented our names when we were three scrawny elementary-schoolers with sick imaginations makes our names more unique than any half-baked nicknames our friends try to emulate from our screwball story.

I’ve known plenty of siblings with garden variety nicknames for each other like Bubba or Sissy, initials for their first and middle names like JD, DJ, KC, or nicknames acquired from how they look - Red, Blondie, Shortie, Beanpole, Fatty. Then there is me and my brothers, a foursome of weirdness. Of course, we could have gone the traditional route and called each other Ty, Aims, A-ron, and Squirt, but what fun would that have been? Nothing about the four of us had ever followed any pretense of convention, what with the fart recordings, painting the walls with feces, and dirty Mad Libs. Instead, we came up with nicknames that, (I assume) no other siblings have given each other in the history of nicknames. And for this, I feel honored having grown up with two obnoxious, foul-mouthed, and offensive older brothers, and one hilarious, albeit much less disgusting, younger brother, who taught us that not everything has to have a diarrhea reference to be funny, although it sure does help. And no matter how old we get, when we are together, we revert back to the gutter-mouthed little kids who gave one another three sacred disgusting monikers, and one delightfully innocent sobriquet, forever to be known amongst ourselves and a few select, lucky others as, Bloody Chunky Urine, Hairy Swollen Anus, Fat Milky Tit, and Rick. Rick the Lion.