There are conflicting stories as to the origin of my brother's name.
The one I grew up hearing goes something like this:
Alden, the oldest, could not - or would not - say the name "Allan" which is his real name. Allan Kent Turner.
Instead, Alden called him "Woofie" and it stuck.
The newest story, which I just heard in the past few years, is that my father gave him the nickname, but we're not sure why.
Either way, Woofie - or Woof or Woofit - is the name he's had since a toddler and it's what we've always called him. In fact, he had it legally changed to Woofit not too long ago.
Invariably, when I write or talk about Woofie, I always have to stop mid-story and explain that my brother is not a pet dog I had as a kid. He's my second-oldest brother, seven years my senior, and after whom we named our own son, Griffin.
Griffin Allan Kent Turner.
Not Griffin Woofit.
Try saying that without giggling.
Sounds like courderoy pants rubbing together when you run.
Woofie looks like a Woofie, not an Allan. He was a drummer in a rock-n-roll band. A few, actually, when I was growing up. But repeated surgeries on his shoulders fucked up his ability to play. Well, they fucked up his ability to do a lot.
But when I was a kid, everyone knew Woofie Turner. The blond drummer.
"You're Woofie's brother?" they would ask, the implication being that there's no way in hell that was possible. Woofie was cool and had beautiful girlfriends. I was not.
Woofie is stocky and, before the shoulder problems tore him down, was muscular and well-built.
I was not. In fact, I am more like my sister, Alison, whereas Alden and Woofie were closer in physical type. They got the muscular genes. Alison and I were short and skinny.
Today, Woofie is the father of three beautiful girls - seen by many as a cruel twist of fate for a man's man. Many in our tight family have agreed that the girls tempered his earlier wildness.
But really, to be honest, Woof is a poet and always has been, in the romantic sense of the word, not literally. He's always had the rough outer veneer but beneath it he's vanilla and banana pudding. I don't know a man more benevolent, nor anyone with a deeper sense of love and affecting warmth.
It is true, Woofie has always marched to the beat of a different drummer. Or, as my mother would say, "March to the drum of a different beat."
But we love that about him, as much as we love that Alden is the oldest and smartest, Alison is the only sister and by far the prettiest, or that I'm ...
Not sure what I am to them. They'd have to tell you. I have my ideas. Something about youngest and most spoiled, which would be accurate probably.
Anyway, from now on, when I speak of Woof, Woofit, or Woofie, you know.
He's my second-oldest, former drumming, father of three girls, deep-souled, opinionated, sculpting, 48-year-old but still fucking cool, brother.