Friday, August 14, 2009

Nicknamery: Part 1


Everybody wants one.


Including you.

Sure you do. Because you're part of "everybody." That's how that works.

Let me amend that ever so slightly. Everybody wants a COOL nickname. Like "Nails" or "Big Daddy" or "Ezekiel Thundercock."

Let's face it, nobody wants to be saddled for the rest of their life with an unfortunate handle like "Skeeter" or "Boner" or "Needle Dick, The Bug Fucker."

That's just common sense.

But you get my point.

“The name’s Rutherford T. Rothschild III, but my friends call me Scabs. I hate them so very much.”

To reiterate: Everybody wants a cool nickname.

That includes me. Because I'm part of "everybody," and that's how that works.

But unfortunately, it's not as easy as all that. I can want a cool nickname as hard as a person can want a thing .... but it won’t do me any good. See, ultimately it’s not up to me. Such is the inherent peril of nicknamery.

You can't give one to yourself.

That’s the first and only rule. A nickname must be earned. It must be bestowed upon you by others.

A nickname is a thing freely given. Like a Knighthood. Or sex from Tara Reid. Actually, come to think of it, both of those bestowals also come with their own nicknames. Nicknames like "Sir," "Dame" and "You’ve Tested Positive."

"Stay pozzzative, mmmuhtha-fukkkkahhzzzz!! Woooooo!! Party!!"

I digress.

Good nicknames used to run in my family. There's a rich Badlam tradition of ignoring your relative’s given name and saddling them with one that's utterly ridiculous ... but always evocative.

My paternal grandfather's name was Edward. But nobody actually knew that. In his 90+ years on the planet, it never really came up. He was known to everyone in town as "Hi." Except for the family. We knew him as "Monk." (Pronounced "Mawnk.") Though, in more formal situations this could be modified with an article, e.g.: "The Monk" or, alternately with the addition of an adjective, "The Old Monk".

The Old Monk. Gentleman, Patriot, Nicknamer of Men.

(One can also use “monk” in the lowercase as a more general term that can apply to anyone. As long as they're doing something stupid, amusing or embarrassing. e.g.: “What a monk!” or “That monk took a shit in the middle of the road.” Suffice to say, there have been many “monks” in my family.)

Again, I digress.

My grandfather’s brothers were also tagged with equally colorful monikers. His brother Richard was known to the family as "Moe." Yet to the rest of the town he was "Buttermilk." And his brother Hiram (who, unlike my grandfather, actually was named "Hi") was for some reason, known to the world at large as "Duck."

In his youth, my dad's given name -- John -- was quickly cast aside for the more colorful and I’m given to understand, largely random -- "Yacca." And so on, with all the assorted brothers, sisters, cousins, et al. You get the idea.

(NOTE: Mom's side of the family was never much for nicknames. Though my grandmother would call my grandfather a "prick-fucker." Daily. At ear-splitting volume. But I never quite got the impression it was a term of endearment.)

Anyhow, it's a sad fact that by the time my generation came waddling along, the Badlam family tradition of nicknaming had largely petered out. Imagine my disappointment.

Subsequently, I've never had a satisfying nickname. Over the years, the best any of my lazy, soft-headed friends could muster was: "Rob-buh-buh." Which was nothing more than an exaggerated pronunciation the extra "b" that I’ve stubbornly tacked to the end of my first name since I was an awkward, grease-soaked ‘tween with a desperate need for attention. But that feeble nickname attempt was, by definition, weak sauce.

What I want is a cool nickname. Something clever and kick-ass. But I can’t just give myself one. It’s like tickling yourself. Doesn’t work. It’s against Nature.

So ... what to do?

Well, I think the answer is simple. Put it to a vote.

In the coming days, I’ll dissect the pros and cons of the various forms of nicknames and then I’ll come up with ten or so possibilities. (Suggestions are always welcome). Then we’ll vote.

Since this blog probably has one, maybe two, readers tops, I’ll leave the polls open for, say, the month of September. Deal?

And on October 1st I shall, at long last, finally have my nickname. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for "Ezekiel Thundercock."

Till next we meet ...

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