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The story of how I got my nickname

So one time I was at a gay bar in Japan, making out with a Chinese dude named Ki. (Who turned out to be, like, 45 years old? And I was 21? But he didn't look it, so whatever.) And we were having a grand old time, until his boyfriend called and he had to go home.

What? It's not my responsibility to keep them honest.

(Ironically, he later broke up with that boyfriend for "talking to other guys on the internet." To which I was like -- you goddamn hypocrite, you were making out with gaijin half your age in ni-choume.)

Anyway, so he calls me, months later, out of the blue, sounding -- no joke -- like a mechanical text reader from one of those old-school Macintoshes. After greetings are dispensed with: (Try to do his lines in the mechanical-text-reader voice, por favor.)

Him: "So. Are still alone?"

Me: "Uhm. By 'alone,' do you mean 'single'?"

Him: "Yes."

Me: "Yes..."

Him: "Oh. Good."

Me: "That's not the word I would use for it."

After a few minutes of this, awkwardness is reaching critical mass and I just want to get him the hell off the phone. So I say:

Me: "Well, it was great talking to you, but I gotta go now. I'll see you later, Ki."

Him: "I'll see you later--. .................."

And there's this catch, this hitch, and then this hella-awkward silence that he had so obviously meant to fill with my name.

Me: "...Did you forget my name?"

Him: "Nuh-uh."

Me: "..."

Him: "...........Gremble."

I think you'll find it's 'Gabriel.'

More to the point, How did you even call me? What am in your phone as??

**

I related that story to my coworkers at Half-Price Books, and they were quite taken with it, and thereafter always called me Gremble. At one point the manager was like, "Why does everyone call you Gremble?" Me: "Uh." [glances at nearby customers] "I'll tell you later." And I never did get around telling him, but my Halloween stocking at work still wound up reading "Gremble."

And that is the story of how I got my nickname.

**

"...wait a minute," my friend said. "I think the salient point of this story is: Halloween stocking??"

**

THE END.

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