St. Patrick’s Day – The Story of O’Callaghan and O’Dude

Two years ago, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at Gallagher’s pub in Chandler, Arizona. Last year, we didn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at all, since we were occupied in Nice. This year, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by drinking Killian’s here at home, listening to Alan Stivell – not Irish, but it’s Celtic music, so close enough – and savoring Callaghan’s cooking.

“Callaghan” is an Irish name.

With this in mind, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d interview Callaghan about how he got his nickname.


Me: You’re French. How did you end up with an Irish nickname?

Callaghan: Because my friend’s a cowboy.

Me: Uh….

Callaghan: He used to wear a fringed leather jacket that made him look like an Indian.

Me: I’m not getting it. I need further explanation.

Callaghan: Back in 1988, Dude (Jean-Michel, aka Jean-Mi) got a beautiful fringed leather jacket that went very well with his long, dark hair.

Me: WAIT. Jean-Mi had long hair?

Jean-Mi is one of my favorite people in the world.

Callaghan: Yeah. He looked like an Indian, so we gave him a cowboy name, haha!

Me: Why – oh, because the French are enamored with the whole American “cowboys and Indians” thing.

Callaghan: Oh yeah!

Me: Okay. But why “Callaghan” for a cowboy name?

Callaghan: GriGri (that would be Christophe… no one I’ve met here goes by their actual name) started calling him that. Because of Clint Eastwood. Dirty Harry. You know, Dirty Harry Callaghan?

Me: No. I do not. I guess I’m a terrible American.

Callaghan:  You suck. Especially for a San Franciscan!



Callaghan: Yay so we finally have a journalist interested in this! Well just so you know, there’s really a cult of Dirty Harry here in France. People in France really love Dirty Harry. Now I’m VERY surprised that you don’t know about him.

Me: I know about him, I’ve heard about him, but I’ve never seen it. So how did the name “Callaghan” go from Dude to you?

Callaghan:  Well, Dude decided that the name “Callaghan” was so intense that he should call GriGri “Callaghan,” too. And because I was hanging out with them all the time, I became “Callaghan” as well. And then I started to… well, it became a nom de plume… I started signing my drawings “Callaghan.” So the years have passed, and um I stayed “Callaghan” because I was signing my drawings, and… so people called me “Callaghan.” Because of my drawings. And I was still calling Dude “Callaghan” for a long time. I still do today, from time to time.

Me: Dude? I never heard you call him “Callaghan,” except when you introduced him to me as “the other Callaghan.”

Callaghan: Yeah I just call him “Dude,” really. When I came back from the States, people were calling him “Dude” because his brother Lio – that’s short for Lionel – oh, and Lio’s wife’s name is Valerie, but we call her “Valoche,” which is argo for “suitcase” –

Me: Why do you call her “suitcase”?

Callaghan: Nah, it’s an actual nickname for Valerie. “Valoche” is a nickname for Valerie, and it also means suitcase (valise). And even another word for “valise” is “valdingue.”

This is how I learn French.

Me: Okay! So anyway… Dude…

Callaghan: So Dude. Um… so um yeah so when I came back from the States, Lio was calling Dude “Dude,” so I started calling him “Dude,” too, instead of “Callaghan.” Anyway, “Callaghan” stuck for me. And I’m still signing my drawings “Callaghan.” Parce que j’ai un gros flingue. (“Because I have a big gun.”)

I won’t even go into that. It’s yet another slang phrase derived from French pop culture.

So that, my friends, is how Callaghan (Philippe) got to be called “Callaghan,” and Dude (Jean-Mi) got to be called “Dude.”

Erin go Bragh.