A few months ago, I wrote an article entitled “The Answer Man” about the questions I’m asked by people passing by our boat and/or inquiring about our charters. It got a fairly favorable response from a few folks and my discussions with them and customers since made me realize that there are even more interesting questions we’ve had posed to us that page space didn’t allow me to mention in that first article. So, just like a bad “B” horror movie, here’s the sequel.
Having a boat named “High Class Hooker,” the one question that comes up all the time is actually a combination of three questions. It involves whether the boat already had that name when we bought it; if not, did I name it; and is there a story behind the name? The answers, in order, are no, yes, yes - and there actually is a pretty funny story behind the name.
For whatever reason, I’ve always enjoyed and been fairly good with word-related issues and things. It’s one of the reasons I became a lawyer ages ago. As with most of us and our skills, or lack thereof, it’s probably a combination of nature and nurture. I was fortunate to have parents who, despite both being children of Polish immigrants whose parents spoke only very broken English, excelled in English language skills themselves. My mom was the valedictorian of her high school class in Perth Amboy, NJ; went to business school to become a secretary; and then worked for a judge and later some high level executive-types in a long secretarial career, including a stint at the Electrodynamics facility in NJ, a division of General Dynamics, the company who built the Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered sub. She even got a silver Nautilus pin commemorating her involvement in that project. My dad went no further than high school and became a blue-collar-type laborer who worked at the Standard Oil refinery in the Bayonne area; drove a bus in Jersey City; did deliveries for a thermostat company in Elizabeth; and, then, later became the head of maintenance at the first Siemens plant in Iselin, NJ. Yet, he could routinely finish the NY Times Sunday crossword puzzle, in pen not pencil, often with me and/or my brother alongside to “help.” (“Hinder” would probably be a more correct term.) I guess osmosis was at work, and my young brain just assimilated their language skills. I still love doing difficult crosswords to this day! The fact that my parents read to us every night and taught us basic spelling skills even before kindergarten didn’t hurt either! By the way – a little advice for parents of young tots. Teaching your kids to read and spell well before they start school is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow. As I learned from making it through 19 years of schooling and successfully passing 3 different bar exams – DC, VA and CA – on the first attempt, every timed written test you take in your life is as much if not more so a reading test than a test of your knowledge of the subject. If you can read and comprehend the material twice as fast as the next guy, you have that much more time than he does to consider it and answer. Given equal knowledge, who’s going to do better? As they say, “it ain’t rocket science.”
Back to the boat name. Just as more background, I’ve always thought the best boat names were the ones that involved a pun or “play on words.” My own first boat ever, a 19-footer, was named “Fishin’ Pole” as a nod to my Polish heritage. Several years later, I got a bigger 28’ Boston Whaler. At the time, I was in between girlfriends, having broken up with a few short-term ones, and had been advised repeatedly by other friends, usually the wives/girlfriends of my buddies, that I was being “too picky” with my choice of women. As a result, my new Boston Whaler became “Too Sealective.”
When I bought the old wooden-hulled “Fatal Attraction” in Key West a little over 10 years ago, it had a long history here under that name and I thought the name was a great one. So I decided “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I left the name as it was. But, when I made the decision to sell it and get a new boat, I felt that I wanted my own “brand” and a name that I could easily market. Besides, the Clearwater-area customer who was buying the “Fatal” loved that name, and I just thought it appropriate that the name should go with the old – 40ish –girl.
Once I decided to buy the 47’ Buddy Davis that we now run, the “new name” thought process swung into high gear. My first idea was to try to get the word “Buddy” into the name and I actually came up with a use of that word that I loved and still think would have been perfect in a different context. I was going to name the boat “Bosom Buddy,” with the slogan “We Go For the BIG Ones!” and with the name having an anatomically graphic big letter B in both words. A couple of friends, however, advised me that the name might be too “in your face” offensive to at least a certain significant segment of the potential customer pool. Others I spoke with agreed, so I shelved that idea. That’s when Eliot Spitzer came to my rescue.
As I was feeling a little disappointed that my “Bosom Buddy” idea didn’t seem right, I decided to have a beer or three at a local watering hole to help lubricate my creative thought process. The bar had the TV tuned to a news station. I really wasn’t watching but just happened to notice that Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York, was on and a little trailer at the bottom of the screen mentioned that he had been forced to leave office a couple of years before after an alleged scandal involving an elite escort service. Some guy on the bar stool next to me said something like “those high class hookers will get you every time.” The light went on in my head and the rest is history! Because I wanted my new boat name to be unique, not a copy of someone else’s idea, I researched the name on the internet and could not find any other boat, let alone a charter, using that name. I decided it was a go! While still a potentially mildly offensive double entendre , I believed that it wouldn’t be as graphically “in your face” as my original idea; was subtle enough that young kids wouldn’t really get the play on words; and most older folks would just think it was cute. Further, the endless possibility of marketing slogans such as ‘Even Your Wife Will Understand,” “You’ll Probably Catch Something” and various other double entendres were themes with which we could have fun for years and years. Great names/slogans sell T-shirts and T-shirt sales never hurt your bottom line or name recognition!! Just to play safe, I still ran the idea by some friends/customers who had kids to see if they thought if might be too “over the edge,” but everyone just laughed and said that the name was perfect, especially for Key West. I guess to prove that they were right, I’ve really only had one person question the good taste of that name in the four and a half years we’ve owned the boat, and all my regular customers loved it. Oh, and yes, we have sold and/or given away a bunch of T-shirts!
It’s also extremely satisfying to constantly hear comments from complete strangers passing by such as “greatest fishing boat name ever!”
So, there you have it. Now you know “the rest of the story" as to how Captain Gene became the low class pimp who runs a High Class Hooker. If you have any more great questions, run them by me sometime and maybe that will give me another good (or bad) reason to waste a couple more pages of FishMonster’s precious magazine space as “The Answer Man!”
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