On Thanksgiving, my 88-year-old grandfather explained that he and my grandmother had purchased a device while watching what was probably an infomercial. He explained that this device has been extremely helpful in cleaning the floors and that the commercial contained dogs. The more I listened the more confused I became. The device sounded like a cross between a mechanical dog and a Roomba.
Grandpa: "What is it called, Ev?"
Grandma: "Hmm? Oh... I'm not sure."
Grandpa: "I don't know what it's called but I call it The Clacker."
This information led me to believe the device makes some sort of clacking noise.
Excited about his purchase, grandpa led my husband and I to the room where he stashes The Clacker. It was a broom/vacuum, similar to those seen in restaurants that are used to clean floors, although this one is battery powered and has suction. It did not make a clacking noise. Grandpa passed The Clacker over some crumbs, which obediently allowed themselves to be eaten by The Clacker.
The Clacker has led to several entertaining follow-up conversations. My mom later explained that grandpa has always nicknamed his favorite things. My mom was nicknamed The Raunch. My sister was nicknamed Cha Cha. Incidentally, myself and my aunt have never been nicknamed.
Since our return home, "clacker" has taken on new meaning. B and I have used it to substitute for the F word.
"Where the clacking camera?"
We've used it as a term of endearment.
"What's up, Clacker?"
We've used it as a verb.
"I was just clacking down the sidewalk and saw that cat from across the street."
We've used it as a noun.
"Where's the clacker?"
Ah. We've found our new javelina.
(Post Script Dated 10/4/10: My aunt informs me that her nickname was 'Ace.')