Most of us have had at least one nickname during our lifetime and maybe even a current one.  If you’re in a position of authority you might have a nickname you don’t know about – and that you wouldn’t want to know about.

Parents will agonize over the given names of their newborn son.  Should he be named after an ancestor, a saint or a famous person?  His first and second names should go well with his surname and think about the resulting monogram.  Philip Ignatius Ginty, for instance, would be a bad choice.

After long debates the parents decide on Donald Madison Ginty and then proceed to call the boy “Snooky” for his first five years.  By the end of Donald’s first day in kindergarten his Disney fan classmates have dubbed him “Ducky Ginty” and he’s stuck with that for the rest of his school years.

There are websites with lists of nicknames, complimentary and otherwise. We didn’t need that kind of help in the old days.  We relied on inspiration and imagination.  We named our somber and sickly-looking high school chemistry teacher “Zombie”. Of course he didn’t know this, but on occasion a boy would be sent to the principal’s office for a discipline infraction and he would blurt out, “The Zombie sent me.”

As a kid I would have liked being called something like “Buck” or “Duke”,  but my friends chose less picturesque nicknames which I do not choose to revive here.  I still have some strict rules about name shortening.  I tell my friends they can call me Eugene or Gene, but not “Huge” until I find an effective weight-loss plan.

There’s the story of the tough-looking cowboy who was asked by his ranch foreman, “What part of Texas are you from, Tex?”

“New Orleans,” Tex replied.

“But that’s not in Texas.”

“Ain’t nobody gonna call me Louise.”


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