Some years back… make that decades, I worked as a lifeguard at a waterpark in Houston, TX called WaterWorld. We were the first waterpark built in Houston at the time. WaterWorld opened in 1983 and I started there in 1984 when a beautiful lifeguard supervisor remembered me from a lifeguarding class she once taught.
During my time at WaterWorld, I came across many people that had nicknames. Most of them were from something funny they did. I got a nickname that first summer I worked there in 1984.
Back in the day, Jeff Ellis, a lifeguard trainer, used to party with us at hotels around Houston. At one of the parties where he rented the hotel rooms, someone started a bed diving competition. Guys would run through a long line of people in the parking lot, into the room, jump on one bed, do a stunt and land on the other bed.
I was involved in this competition. At the time, I was just an unknown lifeguard from the Lagoon. That was about to change.
After a while of this bed diving competition, I tired of it and thought we needed a finale to it. So I said aloud that this was our last dive for all of the marbles.
Guys starting running and doing their stunts until it was my turn. I then said that I was going to do a Spiderman impression. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but had never attempted anything so stupid before.
I ran, full speed, into the hotel room from the crowd of lifeguards in the parking lot. I jumped on the first bed and went airborne. In the air, I twisted my body and planted my hands and feet on the ceiling. As my momentum was still going up, it appeared as though I was stuck to the ceiling for a good while.
To cut this story short, everybody loved it and I won the competition. I was requested to do it several more times that night and soon everybody was calling me Spiderman, then Spider and the rest is history.
During those days, a lot of us wore black Reeboks and when we left that hotel, there were black footprints all over the ceiling. This was the case at subsequent hotel rooms that whole summer, lol.
That’s my story. The following nicknames are ones I’ve heard over the years and some I gave to people. I don’t remember all of their origins but here are some good waterpark nicknames.
Dimples – Jennifer C. was one of the prettiest lifeguards we ever had. She had great blue eyes and cute dimples. I started calling her ‘dimples’ after just a few times of seeing her around the park and it stuck. I doubt anybody calls her ‘dimples’ today, but she blossomed into a beautiful woman.
Gator – Melvin G. was called Gator by his dad, so it wasn’t a nickname he got at the waterpark, but this list wouldn’t be complete without him. He was one of the funniest guys at the park and always ready for anything.
Roach – Jeff S. got this nickname during his first training, when one of the trainers said he looked like a dead roach in the water. It stuck. Most thought it was about pot.
Moon Pie – I don’t remember this girl’s name, but everyday her mother packed her a lunch and it always had a moon pie in it. And everyday, Roach ate her moon pie.
Turtle – John S. was one of our swimmers on the Lifeguard Team. And no, Turtle wasn’t because he was slow. He looked just like the character Turtle from one of our favorite movies North Shore, about surfing in Hawaii. Our Turtle was a real character himself.
Pup – John T. was called Pup or Pup Tent because he told a story one day during break about how he was sporting wood and made a pup tent out of his pants. That’s a funny one.
P.J. – Pup jr. was Marcus T.’s nickname because he was John’s younger brother.
Muffin Man, Muffo, Muff – Robert K. had a haircut that made his head look like a muffin. He also did the ‘Silence of the Lambs’ tuck dance at Turn-Around quite a lot so we called it his Muff Dance, because all you could see was his muff.
Cupcake, Cupper – Bryan K. is Muffo’s younger brother. One day during Bryan’s first season, he came strolling into the Filter Plant cage area. I saw him and said, “If your older brother is called Muffin, then that must mean your name is cupcake.” Everybody laughed hard and it stuck.
Spoons – Danny B. was always doing the Cabbage Patch dance and we started to say, “Put your spoons in”, like you were about to do the dance, so everybody started calling him Spoons. He was a very funny dude to hang with.
The Ream Team – Clod, Floyd, Gus and Granatelli (and later Wang too) were always getting hazed by Chet. He reamed them all the time. So much so, that they were dubbed The Ream Team. The following names are the Ream Team.
Clod Brown – Ricky B. was nicknamed Clod, but for the life of me, I can’t remember why. Clod, Floyd, Gus and Granatelli would drink a lot of Big Red and Jack Daniels.
They started blowing chunks at every party. They would drink Big Red and Jack until they vomited and then they started getting creative. Once they hurled on a pay phone. Yes, they had pay phones everywhere back then. Another time Gus spewed street pizza on an innocent, unsuspecting feral cat. They say their ‘Greatest Accomplishment’ was puking in the ice machine at the Astro Motor Inn.
Floyd – Same here. David W. we called Floyd but don’t ask me why.
Gus – Jay L. can’t remember why we called him Gus.
Granatelli – Andy C. had a name that sounded like the famous race car driver so it fit perfectly. Clod, Floyd and Granatelli were quite the trio when together. Always up to something, lol.
Wang, Wanger, The Wang – Scott S. worked his whole first day with a big piece of cardboard in his lifeguard shorts, that was attached to the tag. When we were in the dressing room, after work, and he discovered this, we all busted out laughing when he said, “I just thought that’s what it felt like to be a lifeguard.” If you remember Wang from Caddyshack, his hat and clothes had the tags on them. Everybody loved our Wang. He was one of the funnier guards we ever had.
Vegas – Ginger L. had one of the coolest nicknames. I can’t believe I forgot about her until I was so kindly reminded. Vegas also has a great first name and sometimes we called her that… Lola.
Bick – Robert R. was called Bick because of his last name. He easily had the best arm on our softball team. He jokingly says he hit .900 for our team, but the truth is that he’s not that far off, lol.
Barnyard – I can’t even remember Barnyard’s real name. He hit so many home runs off of the roof of the Big Red Barn that everybody called him Barnyard.
Skid – Cydney W. was called Cyd a lot so the natural progression was to Skid. Cyd was a good guard and even worked for Radar in Guest Relations.
Ann-imal – Ann R. was a great softball player and a fun girl to have around at parties. Ann-imal fit her perfectly.
Spaulding – Ken M. was called Spaulding from Caddyshack, but I can’t remember why.
Spaz – Eric was another of our swimmers on the lifeguard team, even though he was quite spastic at times.
The Knights of Ni – Kristen, Laurie and Dava Jane were all tall girls so someone started calling them the Knights of Ni from Monty Python.
Bubba – Ryan C. was from ‘The Sticks’ so Bubba fit him perfectly. He was a charter member of my Posse’ also.
Jethrine – Terri W. was a countrified gal also. Jethrine was the female version of Jethro, from The Beverly Hillbilly’s.
Ripcord – Can’t say.
B.T. – Diana C. was quite blessed upstairs, so someone called her B** T***. We shortened that to B.T. so we could call her that at work without the guests getting upset.
Bullet – Lisa C. was also blessed up top and when girls get cold in a thin swimsuit, sometimes they call you Bullet, lol.
Wookie – Stacie M. – sometimes when you’re doing the nasty, in a bathroom, banging your head on the door, you let out a noise that sounds like Chewbacca and get a nickname like Wookie. This might be the funniest of them all.
Issy – There were two twins that worked for us named Missy & Sissy. I could never tell them apart, so I called them both Issy, so I was never wrong, lol.
Muscles – Bobby M. got this nickname because he would scan his area then scan his muscles. Then there was the time Bobby got hypnotized into thinking there was some red dots on his special parts. Funny times.
3 dollar haircut – Kenny P. got this nickname because of his bad haircut and a sex act I can’t explain here, lol.
Salty – She got this name because of her salty attitude.
Duck Pluck – Rudy T. made a rescue one time using the Duck Pluck maneuver and the name was a natural fit. Duck Pluck was one of our better guards.
Bogus Brooks – Brooks had a string of bogus rescues, so he got stuck with this nickname. Not a great one to have at a waterpark, lol.
Beaner Brothers – We called knuckleheads ‘Beaners’ and these two brothers were knuckleheads. Beaner Brothers fit them perfectly.
Gonzo – Jessica K. was nicknamed Gonzo and I guess it was for her attitude. Can’t remember for sure.
Goldie – This guard showed up at his first party with a bottle of Goldschlager and drank until he threw up. Fitting name for him.
Spud – Andrew Y. worked at the wave pool and everybody called him Spud, but I can’t remember why.
Two Cats – I think this girl guard was nicknamed this because it looked like two cats fighting in a sack when she walked away. The only time she didn’t like this name was when some guard screwed up and called her Too Fats.
Daffy – David S. was one of our fastest swimmers on the lifeguard team. When he came to work for us, there wasn’t a training scheduled yet, so he worked as Daffy Duck, our mascot for the waterpark. That Daffy suit was big and hot. I don’t know how he lasted in that suit until training.
Preppie & Slater – David H. & Mike C. hung out together a lot and looked like the characters from ‘Saved by the Bell’. This was a fitting nickname for both of them.
Cheezy – Darron L. has a cajun last name that sounds like cheesy, so we called him Cheezy. Cheezy was one of our better Head Guards and would have made Supervisor had he stayed at the park.
Beano – Alberto Z. was working in AstroWorld with us during Spring Break, when he let a kid slip while climbing the rock wall. We started calling him Beano the Clown after that. Beano was the best Short Stop our softball team ever had. He was like a vacuum cleaner. Nothing ever got past him. He was a great athlete.
Foxy Roxy – Roxanne G. was hands down one of the prettiest guards we ever had. I wish I had a picture of Foxy Roxy during our Halloween project where she wore a black, skin tight, skeleton outfit. Anybody who knew Foxy Roxy will never forget her.
Geoff – Geoff F. was the only guard I ever knew that had a nickname that was his real name. His Geoff was pronounced Jeff, but whoever saw his name written on the clipboard pronounced it Gee-Off and it stuck. We call him that to this day. Geoff was a great guy to have around.
LL, Latino Lover – Eric H. was nicknamed the Latino Lover for his amorous ways. LL was a charter member of my posse’ and always good for a laugh. I wrote a Lifeguarding manual for our other waterpark in Los Angeles and I used LL as my star in the photos.
Pee Wee, WeeMan – Jerry S. was one of our smaller guards. I’m not sure if he was nicknamed Pee Wee or he arrived with that name. Wee starred in my famous WaterWorld Stuntman videos. That’s a trip down memory lane. Wee was at his funniest when he was sporting his speedo made into a G-String, lol.
And now for the Supervisors…
Pickles, Pick -Dominic H. was a fellow supervisor of mine. During his days as a guard, he had several rescues where he bumbled it or fumbled with his equipment so ‘Pickles the Clown’ was a natural fit. I wish Pickles were alive today. I miss him dearly.
Lil’ Eddie, Lil’ E – Greg D. was nicknamed Lil’ Eddie because he had a hairline that made him look like little Eddie from The Munsters TV Show. Lil’ Eddie was quite the funny character. He always had something going on. I wish he were here today to read this too. I’m sure he’d be overly critical, in a dick sort of way, lol. I think about Lil’ E quite a lot.
Face – Kyle S. looked like ‘Face’ from the A-Team so that was a natural fit. I’m sure he didn’t mind being called Face. I know he didn’t like what I called him. When he would laugh real hard, his teeth would buck out, so I called him Bucky, lmao.
Radar – Joni W. handled pretty much everything from ‘hire in’ to ‘termination’. She was our paperwork and processes queen. ‘Radar’ from M.A.S.H. was always very proficient with the organization of the camp and our Radar helped run the waterpark in much the same way. Everybody liked Radar.
O’Leary – Pat L. was definitely Irish with his red hair and last name so someone picked a very Irish sounding name for him. O’Leary was the main reason we won all of those state titles.
One – E – Lavin – Denise J. had the radio number 111. And she dated Pat Lavin. When you spelled out her radio number phonetically it was ‘one e leven’. Since she was dating Lavin, everyone called her One e Lavin, now that’s creative and funny too.
Caveman, Jimbo – Jim W. was easily the most muscular guard we ever had. Some would say, built like a caveman. He also had some pretty funny habits. I remember stealing his Spicy V8’s when I lived with him. God, he would get so pissed, lol. Jimbo was my first Head Guard and one of the main reasons I made supervisor. I’ll always owe a debt of gratitude to Jimbo.
Limpy – Keith K. was nicknamed Limpy because someone made a reference to performance issues with his nether regions, lol. This is NOT a nickname I would have wanted.
Uncle Pervy – Doug S. started out as an EMT in the first aide department out at the park. Then he was made a Park Supervisor to handle Guest Complaints, etc. Pervy was a little older than the rest of us and he always seemed to be chatting up younger girls. Uncle Pervy seemed to fit so well that it stuck.
Whiner – Jenni W. had a last name that sounded like whiner so someone called her that and then so did everyone else.
Chet – Eric J. was always hazing these 3 guards in particular… Clod, Floyd and Granatelli. So these 3 named him Chet, like the older brother in the movie Weird Science that was always hazing his younger brother. Chet lived up to his nickname and hazed a lot of guards.
Pumpkinhead – Gary G. had a large head and was usually red faced. There was a movie that came out called Pumpkinhead and the main character had an oversized, orange, pumpkin head. Someone saw the trailer and started calling Gary Pumpkinhead and it stuck. I don’t think Gary liked this nickname though, lol.
The Bob Guy, Boob – Bob L. was our Manager for several years. Someone starting calling him Boob, but never to his face. I once put a lifejacket in his office chair with the name ‘Boob Logan’ on it, as if to say our manager needed a lifejacket to go into the park. He was not too happy with that and made me wear a lifejacket my whole shift one day. I blamed Pickles and Boob made him wear one too. The funny thing is that Pickles was working on the train that day as part of his supervisor training.
Every time I heard the train coming, I went to the station to see Pickles roll up wearing his train conductor uniform and a lifejacket. The uniform was hot, the train was hot and the lifejacket was hot. I loved getting Pickles blamed also.
Another time, Boob was sitting at the Beachcomber restaurant with some AstroWorld VIP’s. He saw me walking by and called me over to clear their trash and trays. It made me feel like a busboy and I was pissed. So I took this bag of trash and placed it in his office chair in the back office.
He found it and knew immediately who had done it. He made me carry that bag of trash around the waterpark my entire shift the next day, lol. The hard part was explaining to everyone why I was carrying trash around all day.
Well, that’s all I remember about nicknames. If I left anyone off, please contact me so I can add them. I hope you enjoyed this piece of WaterWorld history.
Until next time, be safe and have a chill day.