What’s in a name: Waterboy

by mollykl

Ever wonder about random things? I do. If you know me then you know this is not a surprise, as I will whip out my phone on lunch and look up esoteric facts about, say, polar bears. It’s what makes me very good at my volunteer gig as a reference librarian. I like to know things.

So the other day I was driving in mid-town and passed Waterboy. Now, if you’ve had to endure a lunch with me spouting random facts about polar bears, then undoubtedly you’ve listened to me rave about Waterboy. It’s husband J and I’s favorite restaurant and our go-to for special occasions. We’ve spent every New Year’s Eve since we moved back to Sacramento at Waterboy. But this isn’t about that.

I passed by and thought, “Hmm…I wonder how they got their name?”

(note: this is an older pic – they have a new fancy sign that caught my eye)

And so I went home, and on my vacation, with my husband and son out of the house and FREEDOM, I spent my time searching on the web for the origin of the name Waterboy.  I came up empty. So I did what any good searching reference librarian would do: I simply emailed the restaurant. Because, by God!, I was going to find the answer if it took the rest of my damn vacation!

People, if you’ve ever wondered such things, preferably while enjoying steak tartare and the best damn Vesper you’re ever going to find, I have the answer, straight from the horse’s mouth. In this case the horse would be Rick Mahan, the owner (owner and answer-er of the e-mail). And no, Mark and Rob, it is not named after the Adam Sandler movie.

Waterboy was, much to my delight, named after the band The Waterboys. I had a copy of “Fisherman’s Blues” (copied from vinyl no less) on cassette tape, with The Pogues “If I should fall from grace with God” on the other side.

I went online to listen to a bit and instantly I was transported back some 20+ years to freezing cold nights in Spokane, in a dorm room on the edge of campus, listening to music WAY too loudly, attempting to study British literature and just being…happy.

My senior year I lived on the other edge of campus, in a much warmer room, with the best late-afternoon sunshine and a wonderful girl named Emily. We used to laugh that “her” song “Emily” was a nice sweet song by a Christian singer, and mine, well, mine was “When will we be married” by The Waterboys. While they never sounded as out-and-out drunk as The Pogues did in recordings, just listen and tell me this isn’t “my” song. This is a song to be enjoyed at night, a scotch in one hand, a cigarette in the other, preferably stone-cold drunk (and if you’ve been reading Joyce so much the better).

For good measure, here’s another. Listen and enjoy Fisherman’s Blues and then head out, find an excuse to eat at Waterboy (being alive’s a good one – I like to use that a lot) and be happy.

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