Catch Phrases

I have always wanted my own catch phrase–a line that could be synonymous with me. I remember “Hawaii Five-O” had Steve McGarrett ending each show with “Book’em, Danno”. It seemed like everyone was saying “book ’em”, back in the day. Arnold Schwarzenegger said “I’ll be back” in the “Terminator” movie and I still say it when I plan on returning. The Budweiser commercials coined “Whazzup?”, it still makes me laugh to say it or hear it.

Dwayne Johnson, “The Rock” from pro wrestling fame had so many catch phrases, it’s hard to remember them all. His monologue always started with “finally, the Rock has come back to ____”, he called everybody a “Jabronie”, his opponents had to go “one-on-one with the Great one”, he told people who dissed him to “know your role”, and he ended every interview with “if ya smell-l-l-l-l what the Rock is cooking”.

Flashback to 1999 when we first moved to Jonesville and bought the Munro House Bed and Breakfast. The neighborhood kids loved coming over to our house. Our house is big, we welcome kids, and we have a big candy dish by the front door. We let the kids come over, but not just to grab some candy. They had to spend time with us and tell us about their day before they could grab a Snickers, Kit-Kat, or Tootsie Roll. My role was the chief caretaker of the house, so it seemed like I was always home. The kids would greet me formally by addressing me as “Mr. Venturini” and we sould spend a little time together. For a lot of kids, a name with 4 syllables is a mouthful, so my wife, Lori, said, “just call him ‘Mr. Mike'”. I liked that.

Flash forward to 2009, and the neighborhood kids, their parents, my friends, and even my wife refer to me as Mr. Mike. I like the informal authority the moniker gives me. A few years ago, I did something outstanding in the presence of the neighbor kids and I jokingly asked “Who’s the man?” In unison, they responded, “you are, Mr. Mike!” My catch phrase was born.

These days, when I move something heavy I’ll ask “who’s the man?” and Lori will say (in a high-pitched voice), “you are, Mr. Mike!” My buddies respond with equal enthusiasm when I get a strike at the bowling alley, make a 3-pointer on the basketball court, or make a fairly awesome shot on the golf course. I get the same reply when working on projects with friends around the house or in the yard.

My wife even made me an apron that says “When I say who’s the man”, you respond “you are, Mr. Mike!” Our guests read it while I’m interacting with them over breakfast, and when I get a chef’s compliment after breakfast, I’ll ask “so-o-o, who’s the man?” and they all reply “you are, Mr. Mike!” It makes me smile.

Just this week, I had 4 groups of 30 fourth graders from Williams Elementary School over for a tour of our historic house and a lesson on the history of Jonesville. After the tours, I would ask them if I could take a group photo for the internet. I lined them up and prepped them on my catch phrase and flashed the photo while they responded with the proper line.

I was working in my front yard on Friday as the school buses were passing my house. I noticed that all of the windows were down and the bus brakes were squealing a bit as it slowed down for an upcoming intersection. Suddenly, I heard the bus driver yell “WHO’S THE MAN?” and all the kids on my side of the bus put their faces in the windows and waved as they yelled out “MR. MIKE!” It makes my day to think that in some people’s eyes, I am “the man”, at least for a moment.

Mike Venturini – Innkeeper

“Life is good in Jonesville”

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Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 11:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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