Volume 37, Issue 10, October 2002


Name Dropping
    “I Can’t Stand Those People!”
by Lyle R. Hill

There’s no denying that he’s an odd duck. In fact, he’s one of the strangest people I’ve ever known. But in some indescribable way, I actually find him interesting … down right intriguing even. So when he called on that rainy August afternoon, I was kinda glad that he had. 

“Hey, Hill, how’s it going?”

“It’s going OK, ‘Jungle Jim’,” I answered, instantly recognizing his voice. “How about with you?”
“Well, to tell you the truth, not too good. You heard that Debbie is in the hospital didn’t you?” 

Somehow, and it will forever be a mystery to me, Jungle Jim Bruney married very well. His wife, Debbie, is witty, attractive and very intelligent. She’s from a small farm town in Indiana, Tipton, I believe, and I guess there just wasn’t much to choose from in Tipton because how else could you possibly explain how someone like her ended up with someone like him?

“Yeah, I heard she really did a number on herself. Neck brace … jaw wired shut … splints and slings. What happened?”

“Well, it’s a strange story, Hill. You see, she went on a health kick and bought one of those bow-strung work out contraptions that they’re always advertising on TV.”

“And she hurt herself exercising on it?”

“Not exactly … but kinda. As you know, she can be pretty impatient … doesn’t believe in reading instructions. So as soon as she had it together she just had to try it out.”

“OK, so she’s impatient. But that doesn’t explain how she got hurt.”

“I was getting to that, Hill. Anyhow, she doesn’t read the instructions on how to use the bow-strung thing and the next thing I know she’s climbed up on it and shot herself right through the ceiling and into the attic. Strangest thing I’ve ever seen … her body in the attic and her legs dangling there in the living room ceiling. I think she forgot to use the seat belt or something. I’ll know more once she can talk again.”

“Wow Bruney, that’s incredible. But listen, that’s not why you called. What can I do for you?”

“Well Hill, I ran into those two brother’s you do business with. You know who I mean … one of them is real smart but kinda funny looking, and the other one’s real good looking, but not very bright. Anyway, they told me that you had breakfast with the mayor last week..”

“Do you mean the Studt brothers, Doug and Brad?”

“No, not them.”

“Then you must mean the Helfers, Joel and Harvey, or perhaps the Thomas brothers, Kevin and Terry.”

“Not them either, Hill.”

“Then it’s got to be either the Kozyras, Dan and Dave, or the Nutinis, Pete and Lou.”

“No, I think it was John Greig and his brother James. Anyhow, I bumped into them while they were having lunch with Scott White, Kevin Anderson and Mike Swanberg. And they told me that you, Wally Quastoff and I think either Joe Haras or Joe Tumblin had breakfast with the mayor.”

“It’s true, Bruney, but so what? And by the way, I think the person you referred to as John’s brother is actually a guy named James Drugis. It’s an honest mistake … they do look related.”

“Whatever … but listen, weren’t some of the other guys upset? How did Pete Pontikis and Tony Lampl feel about not getting invited?”

“I think they already had a luncheon scheduled that day with Yvonne Foley or Craig McGregor or somebody.”

“Well how did Jerry feel about it?”

“Which Jerry … Jerry Schor, Jerry Braun, Jerry Darr, Jerry Grosberg, Jerry Metz, Jerry Truty or Jerry Hnetynka?”

“Oh yeah, I forgot about how many Jerrys you work with. Actually, Hill, I was referring to your old pal, Jerry Wright.”

“I think you mean Carl Joliff cause you’re always get them mixed up.”

“You’re wrong, Hill. The guys I always mix up are Donovan Trana, Steve Kramer and Chris Haller.”

“I think you mean Chris Fuldner, don’t you, Bruney?”

“Hill, you’ve got me so confused now that I don’t know what I mean”
“So why did you call?”

“Actually, Hill, I called for two reasons. First, I want to compliment you for not being a ‘name dropper’ kind of guy. I can’t stand name droppers!”

“That’s nice of you Jungle Jim Bruney. I don’t think you’ve ever complimented me for anything before. And what’s number two?”

“I need David’s phone number. Have you got it?”

“Which David … David Carnahan, David Postmus, David Potter, David Rush, David Pelzner, David Mills, David Munoz or Freddie David Fulton?”

“Did I say David? I actually meant Tom.”

“Tom Morgenroth or Tom Hiebel?”


“No problem, Bruney, I’ll look it up and call you back. Listen, It’s been nice talking to you and give my best to Deb, but I gotta run. I need to get a column cranked out for the magazine.”

“Hey, Hill. Speaking about the magazine and all. Did anyone ever ask you to drop their name into one of your columns?”

“Yes, in fact, they did. John Matthews asked me to mention him if the opportunity ever came up. But as far as name dropping goes, I’m in agreement with you … I can’t stand people that do that sort of thing. But do you know what’s even stranger?”

“What, Hill?”

“Well, Bruney … Al Minasian … Steve Connoly’s partner, actually bet me that I couldn’t get 50 names into one of my columns and told me that if I ever did, he would gladly send me a crisp, new $100 bill. Now that’s strange … not that I’d ever go out of my way to do such a thing.”

“That is strange, Hill. But listen, I always liked Al, so the next time you talk to him say ‘hello’ for me. Do you think you’ll be talking to him soon.”

“Yes I do, Bruney … first thing tomorrow morning … the very first thing!” 



Lyle R. Hill is president of MTH Industries of Chicago.


© Copyright Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.