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The Slice: Leave it to ‘Lumpy’

Editor’s note: Paul Turner is taking some time off. In his absence, we’re diving into the archives here at Slice Central. Today, we revisit Aug. 12, 2012.

There are young people in our midst currently living in a candy-colored dream world.

They are about to head off to college. And they think it’s all going to be arguing about movies and music, 2 a.m. pizza, exciting social adventures, and a dollop of effortless academic achievement.

They have no idea.

They don’t realize that someone they have yet to meet is lurking out there in the weeds, poised to change their lives.

Yes, soon after arriving at college, a new acquaintance is going to give them a nickname. Sometimes this playful moniker will not stick or simply won’t get traction.

But brace yourself. Sometimes it lasts forever.

Well, if not forever, at least long enough to be embarrassing.

My first college roommate was a genuinely decent guy named Jim Cameron. For reasons lost to the mists of time, I started calling him Lumpy - after Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford, a less than charismatic character in “Leave it to Beaver.”

Soon everyone was calling him that. Or “Clarence.” Or “Rutherford.” Or simply “Lump.”

Imagine being a college freshman and having pretty girls address you as “Lump.”

Now he knew this was done with a familiar affection. And it was, after all, an undeniable form of recognition.

But here’s the thing. I transferred to a college in another state after two years. But the nickname I had bestowed on my friend lived on.

I lost touch with Jim eventually. Last I heard, he was some sort of administrator of state-run mental health programs. I suspect he existed in a world where he was addressed as “Mr. Cameron.”

Until, of course, he crossed paths with one of our old classmates. Then, no doubt, he would be treated to a rousing “Hey, Lumpy, how’s it hanging, boy?”

TODAY’S SLICE QUESTION: How much roadkill do you have to see before any pleasure you might experience in spotting urban wildlife is quickly muted by somber speculation about the animals’ eventual fate?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Ever wondered if your neighbors have considered reporting you to the authorities because you are quiet and keep to yourself?

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