Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And Betty, When You're Ready, You Can Call Me Al

I love nicknames. I love the implied intimacy of them; that I am privy to an inside joke. I love having nicknames for my friends and family; for TV personalities; for celebrities; for nemesis'; even places. And, there is nothing more satisfying than when a nickname catches on and sticks. Maybe it's because I was never very popular, sure I always had a couple of close friends at any given time but I never felt "in" and yet I dreamed of having some sort of impact people's lives. So, fairly early on it became my life's work to prove my wittiness by applying monikers to just about everyone and everything.

The very first nickname I came up with was for my mum's dad: Pa. Ok, so it wasn't anything fancy or particularly clever but it held fast up until his death a couple weeks ago and there is not a soul in our family who didn't refer to him as Pa.

Actually, I am hardly the first in my family offer silly names for people and everyday things. Pa was really the original; there was 'oop and snatch (soup and sandwich -- don't get me started on the hilarious misunderstandings brought on by that one), sweeper-upper-in-toer (dustpan), sniffer (handkerchief), Bib (my grandma, Barbara, who was also nicknamed Barber by my little brother), Hib (himself, Howard, because it rolled off the tongue with Bib), Chrissy (for my sister Shauna), Crash-a-Day Dave (my brother), Sandy (me) just to name a few.

And, there's my mum who also loves nicknames. I'm Allard, Dave is Snides and Shauna is Shaunstress. Her purse is Pursy Bysshe Shelley (Pursy Bysshe for short) and our dog, Libby, is Liberino.

Aside from Pa, it wasn't until the past five years or so that I was really able to come up with a nickname that would stick and now I am positively swimming in nicknames. There is my best-friend, Rebekah, who (much to her dismay) is called Gross-Back by our friends and my family (she most definitely does not have a gross back but was once picking basil from the garden and asked if she should continue picking and I told her not to worry as it "grows back". Thanks to a slight lisp and crappy enunciation on my part, another friend thought I called her Gross-back and yet another friend jumped on it calling her "lil' Becky Grossback". Rebekah objected, asking us not to call her Becky and so Gross-Back was born but not to worry, we have all shortened it simply to GB).

My other friends are Poppa Corn, Fat Ma (a misheard Cavanaugh, again due to my mumbling), Jumbalaya, K-Dawg, Rooney -- all together we are the Greasy Fingers. My mum: Mama Bear (shortened to MB); my aunt: Auntie Golf (her own fault for saying she was anti-golf); my uncle is Big T and I'm hoping Poop Deck Pappi sticks to my other uncle. My and GB's first apartment was The Ranch (so catchy that even our bosses called it that).

An old, dreaded manager is Sour Cream and Onion because his pallor and penchant for junk food makes me think of sour cream and onion chips.

Sandi Renaldo, my favourite CTV anchor is Sad-Eye Renaldo.

One of my friends and I used to have great fun at work naming all the regulars (who would have thought that a bookstore would be such fertile ground for nicknames): Lunch-Box, the Producer, Cap'n...

There are still lots of names that I am itching to dole out, all the classic nicknames like Rooster, Duke or Dutch, the Magistar, Boss, Fabio. I can only hope that I will meet people who are deserving of such kick-ass names and that maybe, just maybe one day I'll get a cool nickname myself.

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