Nilo Lopez’s Key West Nicknames

Nilo Lopez’s Key West Nicknames

I first heard of Nilo C. Lopez when the Key West Citizen ran his obituary a few years back. It described a simple life in Key West, where Lopez’s family raised dairy cows in a small field along Staples Avenue. The obituary also spoke of him as a well-loved story-teller and published author. Intrigued, I rode my bicycle to Key West Island Books, passing the site of what I guessed to be the Staples dairy farm on my way. Once I arrived at the Fleming Street bookstore, Marshall, its proprietor, uncovered the sole remaining copy of the book whose cover you see here, Nilo Remembers Key West Nicknames.

As books go, it is an exceedingly simple job: 26 sheets of plain white paper folded into a semi-gloss card-stock cover and held together by two now-rusted staples. The font appears to be a 12-point, extra-bold Helvetica; the cover is composed of the sort of stock images found in early versions of Microsoft Publisher. The responsible publishing house is Bay Jourdan, heretofore known as the publishers of the Diamondhead, Mississippi, Telephone Directory, whose tried-and-true typographical model is here unvaried. It is a fore-edge-justified, one column listing of the nicknames recalled by Lopez, first the English ones, then the Spanish. One enjoys the sensation that it is in fact a telephone directory of Nilo’s friends from bygone days; so bygone that phones did not exist, absolving the directory of the need to include them. Here are some of my favorites:

     Harry Bulldog Face
     Billy Pork
     Copper Lips
     Give Me Back My Hammer
     Cabbage Head
     Iron Baby
     Lil Slicer
     I Am A Sailor From The Warbler
     Aching Bungy
     Two By Four
     Big Head
     Cat Head
     Cheese and Jelly
     Charlie Rice
     Black Paul
     Sweet Pappy
     Open Your Legs, You Are Breaking My Glasses
     Quarter Lilly
     Bop Man
     Donkey Milk
     Jungle Rat
     Wrongy Smeller

     Wrongui Mongui
     I Don’t See You, But I Can Smell You
     Shovel Mouth
     Hinge Neck
     Biscuit Shooter
     One Finger Baby

y en español:

     Cuco el Bobo
     El Niño Cafetero
     Siete Cornetas
     el Polaco
     el Polo
     el Basurero
     Los Sapinguitos
     Te Vas O Te Queda?
     Seis Cilindros
     el Mojo
     el Kaki
     Ñico Klikli
     el Pompo
     el Mondonquero
     Kiki Moco
     el Kli Kli
     Weengie Weengie Wyoming
     el Gallego Patas Sucia
     el Conejito
     el Consulito
     Chí Chí

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