So, it’s a noun; what does that mean? Let me explain. My oldest daughter met and married an Englishman. They met while working at Bradford Woods, a camp near Martinsville, IN.

“Bradford Woods is Indiana University’s Outdoor Center. We provide experiential and therapeutic outdoor programs to people of all backgrounds and abilities on our 2,500-acre campus.” — IU Education Bradford Woods.

My daughter worked at Camp Riley with challenged children while my future son-in-law led team-building exercises. Eventually, they married and moved to the UK, where my two oldest grandchildren were born.

An Amazing Career

The experience of working with these exceptional children led my daughter to a degree in Special Education from IU and then a Master’s and Ph.D. She’s had an amazing career. Recently my youngest daughter, who teaches, spent a day shadowing her older sister, a principal, and told me her big sis was the most fantastic school administrator she’d ever witnessed.

Anyway, back to my story. So, my daughter took a position in a small school in Northern England, working with challenged children. I visited her and her family and, while there, toured her school. It was a weekend, so there were no children. However, some staff, including the headmaster, were on the campus.

It’s a Noun

Austin Powers

Okay, I need to pause and explain something. I have never seen the Mike Meyers Austin Powers movies from the late 1990s, have you? I might have avoided the situation I’m about to share if I had.

My daughter and I were walking down a hall of the school when the headmaster came out of a side door walking toward us. I can see the hallway clearly in my mind’s eye—brown tile floor, gray walls, lined with oak doors, and dark green steel lockers. As the headmaster approached, we came to three steps. The headmaster stopped at the top step. My daughter introduced me as her father visiting from America. I stepped up, extended my hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Randy.” The headmaster snickered. I had no idea why. I didn’t learn until much later what I’d said.

In England, folks don’t use the nickname Randy. If, like me, you were given the birthname Randall, then you were Randall, not Randy. Why? Because in the UK, Randy is slang for sexually aroused, lustful, or what we in the USA might call horny. I had just told the headmaster I was horny. Sigh.

Now it all made sense. My son-in-law had taught the grandchildren to call me grandpa Randy. Many times in public, when the grandkids would call me that, I’d get strange looks, guffaws, and laughs. I was the horny grandpa.

Fast forward to years later, occasionally, when asked my name, I’ll say, “I’m Randy. That’s a noun, not a verb.” I usually get a strange look or I’m ignored, but occasionally I get an Austin Powers fan who will say in a poorly done English accent, “Do I make you feel randy?” Nope, it’s a noun.

Photo by kyo azuma on Unsplash