By ice rivers
Floop lied to Blanche Black when she asked “so, how did you get that nickname.”
“It’s the way I pronounced Phillip when I was a child” Floop fibbed with a practiced grin.
He never called himself Phillip when he was a kid.
Neither did anybody else.
They called him Phil, if they called him at all.
And nobody liked to call him for dinner.
Phil was what is politely called a ‘picky eater’.
His grandfather was not polite.
He spoke more with anger than sadness when he asked his daughter Pearl and her husband Earl “what on earth is wrong with him?. There are children starving to death in Africa. You’re spoiling this little twerp and he’s gonna grow up to be a fairy.”
This scene was played out night after night but usually without the valuable ‘insight’ of Granpa Stanley and more customarily with the exhausted shrugs of his Mom and Dad.
They knew when they were out stubborned.
One Sunday a month Granpa came to visit. Granpa came up with the nickname. Cruelty has a way of sticking around especially when it’s anchored in observational accuracy. Everbody laughed as Phil became Floop.
Floop was the sound that came from Phil’s mouth whenever he gagged and Floop gagged a lot. Floop hated gagging and the family hated to hear him gag so they turned it into a joke.
Floop this...Floop that ....ha ha ha.
The damage was severe all around.
Floop wasn’t going to tell Blanche any of that even though they had been married thirty years.
By that time, Phil had some control over his gag reflex.
Floop not so much.
Phil had learned which foods kicked in the reflex. He avoided them vigilantly.
He couldn’t understand the way other people ate what they ate but he didn’t judge them as they wolfed down “food” that horrified and reviled Phil.
They were the “funny guys” not he.
Fortunately for Phil, spaghetti, burgers, hot dogs, chips, peanut butter (without jelly) white bread, scramled eggs, bacon, sausage ravioli, tuna fish and macaroni got the job done.
Phil would eat breakfast any time of day.
Plus he could cook all that stuff himself and by the time Hamburger Helper came around, Phil was quite the chef.
He was never hungry.
Phil was always full.
Then he met Blanche.