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Rhino and Snappy

Right off the bat, the names Rhino and Snappy seem like cartoon characters. If I paired the name Rhino up with a character named, say, Vixen, it would sound like a partnership spy team. Well, these guys were neither. They were more laughs than a cartoon and more interesting than a pair of spies.

Rhino was named after his father, who was named after his father, who was named after.....you get the picture. But that name was actually shared by a well known and deceased Hollywood actor by the name of James Dean. So he usually went by JD instead. He didn't want too many people knowing his real name because the questions would always follow. You already know what questions because you're already asking them in your mind. No, he wasn't related to the actor. No, he wasn't named after the actor. He was named after his dad.

Rhino was a Navy jet pilot before an injury that led him towards the world of being a commercial airline pilot. For a while he even flew private jets for movie stars. He told a story that night we met about having a certain actor get angry over a mechanical issue on the plane one day. When the actor asked who he thought he was to tell the actor they weren't going anywhere, he replied quite simply with his real name. The actor was shocked - and went back to his seat. Who in their right mind would argue with the world famous James Dean?

Snappy was Ukrainian. Rhino couldn't say his name properly no matter how he tried. It wasn't that difficult really. It sounded similar Forest without the first letter. His name was Orush Grechka, and while that may seem like an intimidating name to those far more accustomed to the Smith and Jones of modern American society, it's not nearly as difficult as some names I've seen. But Rhino just couldn't bring himself to say it. That day when he was trying to get the attention of Orush and he couldn't remember his name yet again, he snapped his fingers and it worked. So Rhino called him snappy.

Rhino asked me if I had any nicknames. I confessed, i'd never had a decent one. Dad called me Pun'kin when I was little but I had outgrown that nickname years ago. So, while sipping a beer in Oprah's favorite Wahoo Fish Taco's in Santa Barbara, Rhino called me "Vixen" and the name just stuck. Vix for short.

So, Rhino, Snappy and Vixen were turned loose on the town of Santa Barbara one Saturday night, and the rest, well.... The rest is quite a story.

To Be Continued.....

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