Did you know that Bluetooth also shares his nickname with a famous king of Scandinavia, Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson?
Historians’ most widely-accepted theory on how King Harald got his name
line up with Sarah Cole’s theory about Bluetooth Johnson: they
literally had a blue tooth. Dentistry wasn’t so great in either the
Great Depression or medieval Europe, and between boyish hijinks and
Viking battles, I’m sure both had the opportunities to injure their
teeth often. -- Mis' Crowe
Before there was Bluetooth, there was… Blue tooth!
Several years ago, a splendid book was published, which was a reaction
to the overprotective culture that the authors saw as stifling the
healthy development of the masculine character. It was called The
Dangerous Book for Boys (Iggulden, Conn, and Hal Iggulden. 2007. New
York: Collins. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/76167817
) The book includes stories of historical adventure, instructions for
using tools and devices that may be – well, sharp – and directions for
doing things that, a generation earlier, had been common activities for
young men. A desire to keep children safe is understandable, but, at
the same time, it is by experience that a child learns how to assess
uncertain situations so they can make the risky decisions of adulthood.
Eagles forbidden from jumping out of the eyrie will never learn to
fly. And a leap into the unknown can sometimes lead to bruises.
Most of Rush Gook’s friends have nicknames based on some physical
characteristic. Rooster Davis, presumably, reminds innocent bystanders
of a rooster. Smelly Clark – well, that name speaks for itself. And
then there’s Bluetooth Johnson. These days, the lad could have a
cellphone receiver attached to his ear, but, in the 1930s and 40s, it’s
most likely that he had a blue tooth. Although the name may date from
some noteworthy incident with blueberry pie, or an unfortunate reaction
to medicine in childhood, it’s most likely that he had a bruised tooth.
After long consultation with a dental hygienist, she confirmed
something my mother had always said about this nickname: that a tooth
can be injured in such a way that blood gets in it, and it eventually
turns blue or black. In these days of sophisticated tooth care
techniques and insurance, such dental discolorations are easily hidden
with a cap. During the Depression, when a nickel phosphate at the Candy
Kitchen was a luxury, a tooth abnormality that was merely cosmetic
would simply have to be borne. So Bluetooth did bear it: in both his
mouth and his moniker.
A regular event in the 'Vic and Sade' episodes was for Rush to receive a
call from Bluetooth. If Vic was in the scene, he would rattle off a
list of cliches, descriptive of Blue tooth’s excellent character and
sturdy young manhood. Although Vic was joking, he was right. Bluetooth
did appear to be a friend Rush could rely on, and one who wasn’t afraid
to face the risks of life. After all, he could never nave injured his
jaw sitting around merely reading Third Lieutenant Stanley stories. He
made his own adventures, along with the other boys who waited under the
streetlight on the corner. His blue badge of distinction was proof he
didn’t need any Dangerous Books to show him how to take a risk, and
triumph. -- Sarah Cole
sloppiness!, What you doin' answerin' the lame brain telephone? wheels within wheels, Sick River Junction, I recognize the oblong head Sade, depending upon your skill as a catcher, Choke Choke, butter patties, Zero Zinnias, little Charlie Husher, Mis' Harris, Josephine Gumpox, coal, Carberry, Euncie, What's her bein' colorblind have to do with her not bein' able to play the piano?, gettin' too chummy, likes the sensation, Enthusiam is contageous, thinkin' thoughts, Pittsburgh Colorado, dun from Kleeburgers, Director of Inmates, stuff happens, sleeve garters, rotten rotten rotten, Groceries? You, Irving?, Son of a gun's gotta rabbit!
Dove-hiney, scream like a panther, Victor one Rush nothing, All-beef, Fine!, Frater salute!, Panther's Blood, meat's not done, Bluetooth I says ''You're crazy'', telephone man who worked for the telephone company who was up the telephone pole fixing telephone wires, spool of white thread #50, Step up and call me 'George', Who tore my ritual?, a raise in pay, I'll bet you wouldn't climb in a barrel of Bibles an' say that, Hank Gutstop is healthy, Gimmee a kiss..., You could'a knocked me over with a feather, In the living room are they?, Several trained nurses are comin' by fast automobile, Oh ish, Catch the angle?, makes you look like a peeled onion, a door stop weighing 440 pounds, Well Sir.