Thursday, May 22, 2008


Moops, Bootsie, Bingalo, Beetle, Minnow, Mr. Bister, Minjgelo-Bah!, Beanly, Mootsie. These are the nicknames we've called My Son, now in his twentieth year. Some of these are his baby names - long out of favor. Since we nicknamed him in utero, as many parents do (a couple in our Lamaze class called their little bump Gouda, like the cheese!), I suppose you could say that one of these is his First Name.

The most creative coiner of nicknames is, of course, his father, but even his Aunt Elisa made one of them up. Nicknames. What do they all mean? where do they come from? And isn't he a good kid for putting up with them?

Nicknames can be shortened proper names. Some people - unlike My Son - carry their baby or toddler nickname into adult life. Some nicknames refer to a physical characteristic - or its opposite. Tall guys are sometimes called "Stretch", but don't we all know a really big guy who answers to the name "Tiny?"

One place where I worked, almost everybody had a nickname. Some people had several. There was a guy who answered to Fat Boy, Food Giant, Big Boy, Bronate (for the gimme-cap advertising fertilizer he always wore) and Sandy.

There was one guy I worked with who exclusively used people's nicknames whenever he referred to them - I don't think I ever heard him utter a person's real name during the 18 years I worked with him. with him, it was always "Uncle Buddy, Pablo, Pooter, Nerves, Puddles, Fat Boy, The Polish Princess, Crusher, Tiny, Husker, Zipper, Footsie, Augie-doggie, Dutch, Itty-bitty" - instead of Don, Paul, Don, Kevin, Doug, Alex, Karen, Mike, Dan, Mike, Jeff, Larry, Ben, Ed, Diana....of course, this guy had a nickname, too, which became so closely identified with him that he once actually got a paycheck made out to Ed Strange.

Nicknames can show affection, or contempt.

Nicknames can convey status. One of my colleagues at my current job always says "Hey, Bigbank!" to whoever's the most senior in the business office that day.

Nicknames are strange because there are two kinds - the ones you call someone behind his back, and the ones people actually answer to.

What's your nickname?


Kit said...

I go by Kit, Creeky, Watsy, Bear, Snake, and Cake.

KathyR said...

I don't have any nicknames any more. My father gave me a couple, but my fellow inmates these days wouldn't dare.

What are yours?

Binsk said...

Thanks for identifying all of those characters, I was a bit fuzzy on a few. I miss them all and you too.
By the way, I named Ed Strange.

The Polish Princess

Binsk said...

I'm so glad that you identified everyone in order because I was a little fuzzy on a few. You know, I named Ed Strange.

The Polish Princess

Binsk said...

Sorry, this is my first foray into Blogging.

Kit said...

Ooops, I forgot Dr. Dogmeat....