Monday, January 08, 2007

You can call him Ray, or you can call him Jay....

According to, nicknames are defined as “a name added to or substituted for the proper name of a person, place, etc., as in affection, ridicule, or familiarity ie: He has always loathed his nickname of “Whizzer.” or a familiar form of a proper name, as Jim for James and Peg for Margaret.”

This practice is far from being a byproduct of today’s fast-paced society and dates back to even Viking societies around 900 A.D. A passage from

“People were sometimes called by heiti, uppnefi, or viðrnefni (bynames or nicknames). These nicknames were rarely, if ever, used by the person themselves, and almost never used to the person’s face. You were tagged by your friends (or enemies) with a byname. This becomes painfully obvious when you look at the historical bynames we have recorded. They are invariably descriptive, and mostly derogatory in some way, though a few denote desirable traits the person was known for.”

In my lifetime, I have been “tagged” seven times:

1. J.R.: My first nickname, culled together by my maternal grandfather upon pondering my monogram. It stuck and to this day the majority of my mother’s family calls me by this.....I wonder if some can even remember what the letters stand for these many years later.

2. Jenny/ Jenni: I was first dubbed Jenny with a “y” by a 1st grade teacher who must have been lazy with paperwork and also sat me next to the other Jenny in the class. It switched to “i” around 4th grade when I read “A Door in the Wall” by Marguerite De Angeli and discovered to my horror that “Jenny” was also commonly used in the medieval ages to refer to female donkeys. I had never really liked the shortening of my name and just went with the flow for far too many years, finally putting a nail in this one freshman year of friends being much easier to train to a new name!

3. Ned: Early in middle school several friends and I had a nasty note passing habit, which caused us all to take nome de plumes to avoid both classmate and teacher interceptions. AS was “Frank” after a college guy she had a crush on, AF was “George” after her fanatical obsession with George Michael and I? I didn’t have any idea what to pick and no boy crush/obsession that was practical to use. So, AS dubbed me “Ned” after Ned Nickerson, Nancy Drew’s boyfriend.

4. Kibblebutt: College also brought about this lovely one, courtesy of a creative K&D and a really homophobic Perkins waiter. Though only D ever called me this officially, it does live on in my Yahoo! email which K (a tech major) set up at the beginning of the Internet rage in ‘93.

5. Good Lady/Ankles: These both came about quite recently and coincidentally both were given to me by a pair of my friends who are roomies. "Ankles" came from K who has an unhealthy obsession with my pitifully weak, but apparently strangely erotic lower twin joints. “Good Lady” is from L who refuses to part with Ye Olde English and yearns for a return to proper etiquette and speech in the King’s manner.

It is actually etiquette that this post was to be about, and the above a mere exercise to calm me down enough to get to the heart of things.

There is a certain post on a certain blog that gets a little too cozy and loose with my dear Bosco’s various monikers. (I shall not link to the aforementioned, as I do not want a flame war, nor do I wish to give the author any additional traffic).

This all started over a Superbowl party invite, in which the nincompoop in question decided to not laud the pleasant aspects of his party, bountifulness of his buffet or sheer vastness of his widescreen TV, but instead used his evite to make fun of my Bosco, his party and call into question his treatment of people. (Bosco sent his invite out 2 months ago, and included "Poopie"). Several people who were on both guest lists called the nincompoop or “Poopie” out on his crassness and suggested he should show more tack, everyone being well-evolved out of high school at this point.

“Poopie” decided to not heed their wise advice and to go on the offensive and blog about the whole event, in which he refers to Bosco by his full name as well as a derogatory nickname several times throughout the entry. This is incredibly crude in this day and age where everyone can search everything; especially employers, government agencies and other institutions that would potentially perform a ‘net “background check”. It is my policy that I do not use a friend or family member’s name in an entry unless I have OK’d it with them.....and this seems to be the policy of most bloggers, “Poopie” has done the electronic equivalent of walking up to Bosco and flicking boogers at him.

Adding insult to injury, “Poopie” wasn’t even around when the nickname he decided to co-opt came about, and in his description completely misses the true intention behind the very inside joke between a few close friends. The nickname in question never really bothered me before, heck I didn’t really consider it as it was used sparingly in a kidding manner by our close friends who really adore Bosco. In the mouth of “Poopie” it comes off smug and flippant and is quite belittling; he even admits to needing this as a way to differentiate between the many Bosco’s he knows.

TOUGH S*IT! Type the extra line and make stories a little longer or ramble on the 2 seconds more it will take to explain who it is specifically you were referring to. You insulted and called into question the character of the man I love deeply and who would move mountains or crush obstacles for any of his friends in a heartbeat!!!

As to your complaint of the “exclusivity” of the guest list, anyone that lives in Chicago knows that a city apartment is rarely spacious and one does need to show a little restraint when putting together a party to get both a good mix of people and not exceed very real square footage capacity. (A lesson I learned quite well last year after trying to cram 25 people into barely 250ft of living area). A Superbowl “house” party is not the same as one in a bar and the goal is not to invite everyone you have ever met.

Bottom line? I’d suggest that "Poopie's" mouth stops writing checks his etiquette and logic starved brain cannot cash. You mess with Bosco, you mess with me and you’ll be wishing for hell’s fury if you continue these sophomoric actions in an attempt to be Little Mister Popular or Prom Queen or whatever your angle is here.


Anonymous Liz :-) said...

Good Lady! You bring me great joy and amusement! I laugh heartilly in your general direction!

11:17 AM  
Anonymous JT said...

I was wondering for a while there what hole you had fell into.... AS? - don't remember her... AF - yep I know who that was............

8:12 AM  
Anonymous K said...

Hmmmm... Thinking of it, we never call Bosco by the nickname cited by "Poopie." We occasionally call him non-non-nickname, but a person would have to be smug and flippant to actually use the "Poopie" version of the name.

Actually, I think you pegged it perfectly!

4:01 PM  
Anonymous bj said...

Screw the poopie. Sounds like he begged for it, so let's bring him hell's fury. By the way, loved how you broached this subject. :)

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