I like to give people nicknames, whether they want me to or not. I don’t give people nicknames in a derogatory way, or at least I don’t mean to. I like to give nicknames more as a term of endearment, I guess. If you’re one of “my people,” you’re probably going to end up with a nickname.
My favorite nicknames come about totally organically. You’re hanging out with the person, and maybe a funny or interesting situation happens or the person reacts in a certain way or says something funny, and you say to them, “That will be your name forever now.” That happened to me just a few months ago. It was my first week at my current job, and our 3-hole punch broke. I took it apart to see if there was something jammed in there, and when I looked at one of the hole-punchers it was covered in some kind of oil, presumably to keep the simple machine running smoothly. I had no idea this was the case and was kinda grossed out at the sight of this unidentified slime all over an office tool. So I said, in apparently a very effeminate voice, “Why is it all gooey?!” Everyone around me thought “gooey” was the funniest thing they’d ever heard, and one of them even said, “That’s your name now. You’re Gooey.”
A few years ago I was working at a local TV news station running the cameras in the studio. I usually worked Saturdays, and they were the most laid back newscasts ever. The same people worked every Saturday, and we got to bond a little while we were trying to make time go faster and enjoy our weekends. The co-anchors were a man and a woman, and they might as well have been siblings. They always gave each other crap and joked around during commercial breaks, then got totally serious once that red “On Air” light came on. As siblings do, the “big brother” was teasing his “little sister” and after a while said, “I bet you don’t even know what the camera-guy’s name is.” To which she replied, “Sure! I totally do! It’s. . . . . . . . Charles.” My name is not Charles, nor does it sound anything like Charles, but we all knew in that moment my name became Charles. At first everyone called me Charles to continually mock the female co-anchor (She was a good sport about it. In fact, there was one weekday newscast where she came to the studio to file a report wearing brightly-colored orange and while pants with swirly flowery patterns on them. Everyone was talking and goofing around before the show started and I yelled, “Could you all speak up? I can’t hear you over Jill’s pants!” She never wore them to work again.) But what started out as a continuation of the original joke ended up being my actual name. When people introduced me to new co-workers they had to stop and think about what my real name was. Interestingly enough, a couple years later my nickname changed again. This time, for whatever reason we were talking about names we like to call people. I mentioned I like saying, “douche.” Not only is it a funny-sounding word, it’s also fun to say. It has a very pleasing hard consonant up front I like to emphasis, so it sounds like “DDDDDDDouche.” When I said this, my co-workers said, “Oh, that’s your name now! We’re going to call you Douche.” And like an IDIOT I actually spoke the phrase, “That will never last.” That was 5 years ago, and people I know from that job still refer to me as Douche.
Also, have you ever been with a group of friends and someone made a joke, then someone else made a joke about your joke, and a third person makes a joke about that joke, and by the end of it you can’t really see how you got to the end from the beginning? That’s exactly what happened with this particular nickname of mine. I started out simply as “Douche” but by the end of my time there my full nickname was “Dr. Douche ‘Chappy’ Magouche, F.D.A.” That’s right, I had a nickname, Chappy, within my nickname. The “F.D.A.” is an abbreviation for how my “bottom” is apparently “freaking dumb,” but I’ll let you figure that out for yourselves.
I’m thinking over all my friends, and I’m having a hard time coming up with one without some other moniker. Some are more creative than others. Some are simply that person’s initials that I think sound cool together, not unlike a 1930’s newspaper reporter. Some parents build that into their kid’s name, like DJ or JR, and I like to expand on that theme. There’s a girl I know with the initials “K.B.” and I excitedly asked her what her middle name was, hoping it was Grace or Gloria or Gertrude or something. Cause if it was, I could legitimately call her “KGB”! Alas, that wasn’t the case, but as you know I reshape the real story so it’s more interesting for me, so I said her new middle name actually IS Grace now so I can call her KGB anyway.
To further illustrate my point, here’s a list of the nicknames I’ve given my friends (or one’s I participate in if I wasn’t the creator), and these are just off the top of my head. Again, they’re all endearing and in good fun:
Gimp (the best one)
Mr. and Mrs. Norrii
Mr. and Mrs. Goulia
I’m sure I missed some, but you get the drift. Like I said, if you’re one of my people, a nickname is inevitable.
Did I miss anyone? Do you guys have nicknames you like? Or hate?