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Grandma and Grandpa Earthquake Buns and Their Grandson, Big Fat Rico

I wrote this post approximately 2 years ago. Only a few people read it because it was before I actually knew that in order to gain readers, you have to actually take steps to promote your site. I didn’t realize that once you create a website, that it doesn’t just promote itself.

This post was about my grandma and grandpa Mclaughlin. Two years ago, 3 out of my 4 biological grandparents were still alive. Now, I only have 1 grandparent left. My Grandma Mclaughlin died a couple days ago and my Grandpa Swafford died last September. I am very upset about both of these deaths. My Grandpa Swafford was nothing short of a second father to me and it hurts me to simply write about him dying as I am now. I wish I was able to fixate on the good, cherished memories I have of my deceased grandparents without interference from the thought that I don’t think I will ever hear their voices or see their faces again. Nevertheless though, here is the revised, reposted version of “Grandma and Grandpa Earthquake Buns and Their Grandson, Big Fat Rico.”

Grandma and Grandpa Earthquake Buns and Their Grandson, Big Fat Rico
Written on 4/29/2009

Out of my four biological grandparents, three of them are still alive. I feel lucky for this. Some people are born either with grandparents who were not involved with their lives, or deceased before they were born. I didn’t lose a grandparent until I was 22 years old. Not too shabby. Yes it was very sad when my grandpa McLaughlin died, but on the bright side, that is 22 years more than many people get to spend with their grandparents. The fact that I am 26 years old now and still have three remaining grandparents is something that is easily taken for granted. I feel lucky that this is the case for me.

One thing I can say about all four of my grandparents is that they are all very unique characters. All four of them have/had their own unique and funny personalities. Some of my fondest memories were spawned from them.

This post will be about my grandparents on my mother’s side; my grandma and grandpa McLaughlin.

When I was 4-10 years old, I would stay at my Grandma and Grandpa McLaughlin’s house roughly every other weekend. I think my mom was working night shifts on weekends, and my dad was working double shifts, from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM for my Grandpa McLaughlin’s landscaping business, and from 4:00 PM to midnight at the Gypsum Plant. He was working his ass off around that time. Sometimes we were dropped off there on Sunday mornings when my parents went to church. This was because Justin and I were your stereotypical children who acted like brats during church. The fact that we went to a Catholic church back then made things even more awkward for my parents during church, especially because Justin and I would be screaming and carrying on about something absurd like wanting to eat more than just one communion chip. I used to love eating those damn things.

When I was about 7 -8 years old, I started watching WWF wrestling. Every Sunday morning they aired WWF wrestling on one of those local FOX stations. I used to love it when my mom dropped us off at my grandparents’ house instead of taking us with her to church. Watching WWF wrestling was a much more pleasant experience for me.

Back then (1990-1991,) it seemed like you were either a fan of the Ultimate Warrior or Hulk Hogan. There were some Big Boss Man and Undertaker fans sprinkled in there, but the main two were Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan. I was a Hulk Hogan fan. At the time, Hulk Hogan’s main enemy was a balding, fat, blobby looking dude in a black and blue swimsuit named Earthquake. I hated Earthquake with a passion. I remember like it was yesterday, when Earthquake unexpectedly cheap-shotted Hulk Hogan and sent him to the hospital. I was so upset about this that I sobbed like a baby. I didn’t want Hulk Hogan to die and that weasel Vince McMahon was definitely making it seem as if it could happen.

John Tenta aka "Earthquake" passed away on June 7, 2006 after a lengthy battle with bladder cancer. RIP homeslice!

One particular Sunday, I was mortified watching the Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake drama take place on television when my grandmother walked by. This was at a time when my grandmother was at her heaviest in terms of weight and figure. She joked around about it, but being overweight still seemed to bother her. This over-weight stage for her lasted about 2-3 years. Grandma walked through the living room, and I was throwing a fit. I was like, “AHHHH I hate Earthquake SO MUCH!!!” Grandma started laughing hysterically. Grandma was able to blurt through her own laughter, “oh my God, you mean to tell me that the fat guy with the beard’s name is Earthquake?!?!” I replied angrily, “yeah and I hate him so much, he keeps cheap-shotting Hulk Hogan!” Grandma kept laughing uncontrollably for a few minutes. Then she said to me, “hey that gives me a good idea.” I said, “oh yeah, what’s that?” She was like, “well as you know Josh-Posh, I am kind of chunky right now and I would like to lose about 5,000,000 pounds.” I replied, “yeah….and?” She said, “from now on, I want you to call me ‘Earthquake Buns,’ because my buns are so big that I am pretty sure an earthquake occurs every time I take a step. Maybe if you call me ‘Earthquake Buns’ enough times, it will be a good reminder and would motivate me to lose weight.”

I was a pretty naïve 8 year old, and I actually half-way believed her when she told me that there was an earthquake every time she took a step. Therefore, I agreed to call her “Earthquake Buns” instead of Grandma, because if an earthquake occurred every time she took a step as she was claiming, then I didn’t want the house to cave in on me.

Calling your grandmother “Earthquake Buns” was a pretty difficult thing to get used to as a kid and she was a stickler in terms of enforcing the rule. The first time I called her, “Grandma,” she gave me a little lecture. She was like, “now Josh-Posh, what did I tell you about what you are to call me? I want you to call me Earthquake Buns until I lose weight…ok?” I immediately started thinking about how horrible it would be living through an earthquake due to my grandma simply walking, so I responded with, “Ok Earthquake Buns.”

One time I was like, “hey Grandma Earthquake Buns, can you fix me a chicken patty?” Grandma responded with, “Josh-Posh, I am not your Grandma Earthquake Buns. I only want you to call me Earthquake Buns, so please drop the Grandma on my name until I lose weight. Seriously Josh-Posh, if I don’t lose weight quickly, there is going to be an earthquake so big that the house may cave in.” This scared the crap out of me. Of course my grandmother was just kidding with all of these “Earthquake Buns” tangents that she went on, but as I mentioned earlier, I was a naïve little boy, and took this situation very seriously.

I referred to my Grandma McLaughlin as “Earthquake Buns” for two years…until she got her weight down..

About 6 months ago, I decided to use the same method of weight loss that my grandma Earthquake Buns used. I was heavier than I had ever been in my life. I was tipping the scales at 232 pounds. When I get up to about 220 pounds, my face starts getting puffy. I am at my most handsome when I am weighing around 200 pounds. I needed to find some way of motivating myself to lose the weight. I recalled my grandmother’s strategy for losing weight, by having her grandson (me) refer to her as “Earthquake Buns.” One night, I was complaining to my 12 and 9 year old brothers, Shea and Brennan about how fat I felt when the perfect idea stealing my grandmother’s idea hit me. I said, “hey kids, until I lose some weight, I don’t want you guys to call me Josh or Joshua. I want you to call me “Big Fat Rico.” I told them that they could stop calling me “Big Fat Rico” when I got my weight down to 215 pounds.

This was not as successful of a strategy as it was for my Grandma. I ended up getting my weight down to 215, but I kept forgetting that I made that deal with my younger brothers. Every time they would refer to me as “Big Fat Rico,” I would either become insecure or pissed off. Shea would come up and say, “hey Big Fat Rico, do you want to play some catch with the football?” I would respond with, “Big Fat Rico??!!? Are you trying to say that I am fat Shea?!?! Am I fat?!?!?!” Shea would then be like, “dude Josh, you told me to call you ‘Big Fat Rico’ until you got your weight down and I figured playing some football would help you lose weight.” I remembered this and was like, “ohhhh yeah that’s right, by the way Shea, you just called me Josh….please don’t call me Josh, call me Big Fat Rico.” Brennan came up to me once and said, “Hey Big Fat Rico, ya wanna play some Mario Kart?” I instantly became pissed off and snapped back, “dude Brennan, talk smack all you want you little smart aleck, but just know that when I was your age I was shaped an awful lot like you, and looked a lot like you as well. So keep laughing and we will see who’s laughing in 20 years when you are fatter than I am!!! Not to mention, playing video games isn’t exactly going to make you or me any skinnier!!” Brennan then responded with, “Dude Josh, chill out, you told me to call you ‘Big Fat Rico’ until you lost some weight.” “Ohhh yeah,” I said. “That’s right…and don’t call me Josh, call me Big Fat Rico.”

Big Fat Rico got his weight down to 215 around the beginning of January and kept it there until the end of March. It is now the end of April, and I have gotten my weight down to about 200 pounds. I feel like I am right where I need to be in terms of weight….I am finally starting to feel somewhat handsome again, instead of feeling like “Big Fat Rico.”

If any of my relatives deserved to be called “Earthquake Buns,” it was definitely my Grandpa McLaughlin. This was Grandma Earthquake Bun’s husband; my mom’s dad.

How do I explain this guy? Well, when he was in high school and in his 20’s and 30’s, he had an athletic build and was just strong as an ox. It was natural strength, he didn’t have to work extra hard to be strong. He just had it and was a hard worker by nature as well, which increased his strength even more.

When my grandpa became older, he developed an enormous gut and a humongous pair of buns. Out of my relatives, it is hard to determine who I am shaped the most like. However, it is obvious that I inherited some of my build from my grandpa McLaughlin. I think I inherited his buns. I wouldn’t say that I have a fat ass or a “bubble-butt,” but I definitely have a butt. Put it this way, if I were a woman, I would be one of those girls that rappers refer to as “big booty hoes.” I have an extremely large chest for a guy as well. If I have a daughter some day and she is shaped anything like her father, she will have a somewhat big ass and huge hooters. I will probably have to keep an eye on her so she doesn’t end up in a Snoop Dogg video.

When my grandpa was in his 60’s and retired from the United States Gypsum, I helped him landscape for the landscaping company he owned, McLaughlin Landscaping. I did this during the summers from when I was 13 years old until I was 16 years old. We would usually start at 8 in the morning, take a break from 11:00 am to noon, and then work until 4:00 pm.

When 10:00 am came, the temperature outside would increase to the point where Grandpa felt the need to take his shirt off. He had one of the largest, most beautifully crafted guts this world has ever known. However, his arms, chest and shoulders were extremely powerful looking for an older man. Even his gut appeared powerful. He didn’t have an ounce of fat on his gut. It was solid as a rock. Not to mention, his whole front side (chest, gut, arms) was covered with hair. He resembled a polar bear with a farmer’s tan. One of the regular comments he used to make after he took his shirt off was, “hehe Josh, look at these big arms I have. Your Grandma always tells me how thankful she is that I am not a wife-beatin son of a bitch, because these arms could knock her out if I punched her.” I remember just nodding my head and thinking, “yeah Grandpa, that is very true, you could probably knock anyone out with those arms, let alone Grandma Earthquake Buns.”

Grandpa McLaughlin was a character. Whenever we were working and he had to take a leak, he would just do it right there on the spot. It didn’t matter where we were in the yard or how busy the neighborhood we were working in. If he had to take a leak, he would say, “I’m gonna grab a piss,” take a couple steps and start taking a piss right there on the spot. Cars would be driving by while my shirtless, powerful, 60-something year old grandpa who resembled a bear was taking a piss in plain sight. I remember one time, my Grandpa had to “grab a piss” and did so on this shrub he just finished trimming. The old lady who owned the place came outside while he was pissing to ask if we wanted anything to drink. Grandpa didn’t even make an attempt to hide the fact that he was pissing. He just kept pissing on her finished shrub and said, “no, I don’t want anything, I’ve got Diet 7up in my truck.” I remember thinking to myself, “holy cow, not only did that old lady just see my grandpa’s dong, but she saw it pissing….and he didn’t care.”

I remember one time we were landscaping for this elderly woman in New London, and Grandpa decided to just stop what we were doing to take a drive somewhere. When I asked him where we were going, he said, “there’s a cemetery in this area that I haven’t checked in a long time.” I remember thinking to myself, “ahh that’s sad, he’s at the age where he has dead friends and relatives at every cemetery.” When we pulled into the cemetery, he goes to the back of his truck, and picks up a shovel and hands it to me and says, “this will be your job.” My initial thought was, “uhhh, I hope Grandpa isn’t expecting me to dig up corpses from their graves.” Then he grabbed something from underneath his seat. It was a metal detector.Grandpa said, “follow me Josh, we are gonna find some treasure.” I asked, “what do you mean by treasure?” For all I knew at that age, people could have been buried with everything they owned like the ancient Egyptian pharoahs. And he said, “every time you go to a cemetery with a metal detector, you are sure to find old coins. Sometimes you even get lucky and find jewelry.” I remember thinking to myself, “well I bet the jewelry was put here for a reason other than to be retrieved by a grandpa and grandson with a metal detector.” Then grandpa said something like, “I hope you don’t believe in ghosts Josh, because I don’t believe in them. And if any ghosts had a problem with me taking their jewelry, I will just knock them out with my big arms. You think I could knock out a ghost with these arms don’t you Josh?” I looked at him and was like, “yeah I think so.”

I felt weird walking around a cemetery with a shovel in my hand in broad daylight with cars driving by. People probably thought my grandpa and I were either grave-robbers or necrophiliacs. He wouldn’t swipe the metal detector close to any of the graves, but he hit pretty much every spot in between. Ironically, he wasn’t joking when he told me this strategy worked. We found a 1938 dime. He gave it to me and I still have it.

Here is a funny story about my Grandpa’s earthquake buns. I remember one time I was sitting at the dinner table at my Grandparents’ house, eating a Schwann’s brand chicken patty. I was sitting at the head of the table, and grandma was sitting on the left side of the table. Grandpa was crouching near the table, bent over on his hands and knees, appearing to be fiddling with something when his buns rubbed up against my grandma’s arm. I noticed what was going on, but my grandma didn’t even look to her side. She just got a happy look on her face and was like, “Oh James, are you showing me affection? Are you seriously rubbing my arm?”

I felt uncomfortable, because I could see that it wasn’t grandpa’s hands that were rubbing grandma’s arm, it was his butt-cheeks. Grandpa responded with, “huh?! No! I’m fixing this Goddamn mousetrap! Someday I’m gonna catch this damn mouse that keeps on stealing the cheese I put on this Goddamn mousetrap!!! That little bastard!!! I‘m gonna get that son of a bitch!!! It keeps stealing all our cheese!!!” My grandma’s expression instantly changed from delighted to dissapointed. As sad as it was witnessing my grandmother’s disappointment, it was pretty difficult keeping a straight face at that moment.

Love my grandparents!

Grandpa and Grandma Mclaughlin


Although Rick "The Mullet Man" Suave is a fart-nugget, he does have a caring side to him. "Earthquake" was one of his heroes and he was pretty torn up about his death. This is Rick "The Mullet Man" Suave before leaving for "Earthquake's" funeral.