When Gary and I first met we lived in different cities. Because of this, we spent endless hours on the phone every night getting to know each other. One of the first things he told me was that he hated his name. Everyone has a gripe or two with their name here and there (well, not me because I pretty much have the perfect name).
“What do you mean you hate your name?” I said.
“It’s just the worst name ever. Every fat, stupid, bald, gross, redneck person you see on tv or in movies is named Gary. There are no attractive people named Gary. The name is cursed.”
I said “oh come on, it’s not that bad!”
He wasn’t having it. “The next time you see someone on tv named Gary, pay attention. You’ll see.”
I realized I wasn’t going to overcome his life-long hatred of his own name with a few encouraging words over the phone, so we moved on to other topics. I didn’t give it a second thought until a few nights later when I was sitting on the couch watching Hoarders. The brand new episode happened to feature a couple named “Kathy and Gary.” When I saw “Gary” I couldn’t believe my eyes. Then he said “Hi, my name’s Gary, I’m unemployed and … uh huh huh huh … I’ve got too many bunnies!” If I would have had liquid in my mouth it would have been sprayed all over my living room at that moment. To top it off, he’s an angry son-of-a-bitch!
I couldn’t believe this happened so soon after mine and Gary’s conversation. How often does one get immediately rewarded by the Universe like that? I couldn’t wait to tell Gary what I had seen during our standing nightly phone call. When I told him he said “oh my God, are you serious?! Bunnies?! SEE???!!!” I have to admit, this did not look good for the Garys of the world. But I wasn’t fully convinced yet.
Seeing this as a challenge, my Gary then asked me if I’d ever seen “Gary the Capybara.” I said “number one, what the fuck is a capybara?” And then I got so distracted with the fact that there are giant rodents out there that people actually want as pets that I forgot to ask any follow up questions. Here is Gary the Cabybara in all his glory:
Once my Gary-dar had been installed, I started noticing undesirable Garys everywhere I looked. Usually they appeared on some hillbilly TLC show, you know, the kind where they have to add subtitles even though the people are speaking English? Then I saw a dog food commercial with a dog named Gary! Who names a dog Gary? And not even a real dog, a fictional dog character in a television commercial! I can see the pre-production round table meeting now with the Purina executives. “Ok, so what’s this dog going to be named, huh?” “What about Gary?” “Yes, Gary! That’s the perfect name for a dog eating our delicious dog food! It connotes a certain sense of strength, yet playfulness!” Um, whatever dudes!
Once Gary and I moved in together it only got worse. Every time we sat down to watch tv our senses were bombarded with grotesque Garys. At this point I couldn’t deny his theory because I was seeing it too. You know Jerry on Parks and Recreation? For those of you who don’t watch the show (you should start watching, it’s hilarious), Jerry is the butt of every joke. He’s fat, clumsy, stupid and everyone hates him. But at least his name isn’t Gary, right? Not so fast there Professor!
I’ll never forget it: we sat down to watch Parks and Rec just like a normal Thursday night. We quickly realized the episode was going to be about Jerry. “Sweet, this is gonna be good!” we said to each other. About midway through the show they reveal that Jerry’s REAL name is Gary! The minute the words came out of Jerry/Gary’s lips my Gary and I looked at each other in horror like we had just seen a dead body. “NOOOOOO! WHY?!?!” Gary yelled as he held his fists up to the sky. I couldn’t contain my laughter. Was this real life? Was God playing a cruel joke on us?
So it’s official. Gary IS the worst name ever. The evidence is overwhelming. I can’t deny it, Gary can’t deny it, all of you can’t deny it. Still not convinced? Take a look at these other fine exhibits. FYI, the dorky looking guy in the bottom left corner actually has the same exact name as my husband! Gary Perlin!
“Ok you’re right!” I said to Gary. “This is crazy. All the Garys out there are ugly and fat and stupid. But you’re the opposite of all of them, so that makes you … like … King of the Garys!” At first he looked at me like “wow, some prize!” and immediately went back to hating his name. But over time, I think he has gotten quite comfortable with his title. Now every time we see a bad Gary on tv he just looks at me and says “man, it sure is good to be King of the Garys!”
p.s. an extra special thanks to my husband, King of the Garys, for making these awesome videos for me and for allowing me to tell stories about him in a public forum.