Monday, August 21, 2017

DO YOU INVENT NAMES FOR PEOPLE?

But I don't mean obscene names for the president, Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

We've always been big on nicknames in my family. My mother used to call a young woman with short curly hair who lived in her neighborhood "Betty Boop." It became so popular that everyone who lived there started calling the woman Betty Boop––sometimes to her face.


But I also invent names for people based on certain facets of their personality or their behavior (not cruel names).

A few months ago I shopped at Target and no matter what I said to the cashier, he replied, oooookey doooookey. Based on the way he emitted his okey dokeys, I suspected he was as high as the sky.


Naturally, his name is now "the high guy." I have no idea what his real name is.

And how about those name tags some cashiers wear that say

GEORGE
7 YEARS

I know it means that the person has been working there that long, but I always want to ask, If you've been George for seven years, then who were you before that?


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




37 comments:

  1. I never really thought about it, but today I wrote a blog post and called a dentist the "rotating dentist"...so yes, I guess I do--LOL! When you aren't good at remembering names I think it comes naturally. ;)

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    1. Even when I can remember the person's name, sometimes I prefer the invented name.

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  2. We do that too.
    And sadly we are better at remembering the names of people's pets than we are of the owners. So they can become Mr Fluffy or Mrs Sheba (never to their face).

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    1. That's hilarious. I find it's easier to remember the names of pets, too.

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  3. Hi Janie - I'm sure I do ... George of 7 years sounds fun - and yes I can see names being made up ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Maybe he was Henry the eighth before he was George the seventh.

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  4. Ha that's interesting about giving people names. If the the high guy was really high, sounds like he deserved it. Greetings!

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    1. I wouldn't call the high guy that name to his face, and I wouldn't accuse him of being high. I don't want him to lose his job. Then I'd never again hear ooooookey doooooookey.

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  5. Oh yes, my family has long made up nicknames for people. A good lady friend's husband was named Whitey. When he died we started calling her the Widow Whitey. She loved it and refers to herself as the Widow Whitey all the time!

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  6. Ha! Our son's nickname has always been "Mogie." I'm not sure why.

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    1. Think, Stephen. Some reason for Mogie must exist.

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  7. "I always want to ask, If you've been George for seven years, then who were you before that?" I love that! Very clever. Reminds me of an old, single-panel cartoon I saw years ago. A man was seated at a table in a restaurant. His waitress had her name embroidered on her uniform, in the standard location. The man was asking "What did you name the other one?"

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  8. That reminds me of a great joke from Demetri Martin.

    I went into a clothes store and a lady came up to me and said, "If you need anything, I'm Jill." I've never met anyone with a conditional identity before. Who are you if I don't need anything? "If you don't need anything, I'm Steve."

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    1. I should have told my kids when they were born that if they didn't need anything but wanted to do something to help around the house, then my name was Mom.

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  9. I have always made up names to go with people, even people that are part of my everyday world, for example I call My Beloved Sister "the Empoo" a lot of the time and call Shelby, the dog, Sheeba most of the time. I also have one friend of my husband known as "Hey Dear" because a one syllable name like Anne is evidently too hard to remember. (I have known him for almost 40 years). In addition I know Lobby Mike, Yellow Boat Man, Mic Man, and Curly Publix (woman who works customer service at Publix with the greatest curly hair I have ever seen.)

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    1. I'd love to know the reason for the Empoo.

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  10. HAHAHA! Had a good laugh with the George comment :) I never thought of it that way and now when I see someone's name tag at work, I'll always think of it that way.

    I always have nicknames. So does my husband. For me, it started with my dad who always had a nickname for everyone. I guess I inherited it from him and continued that legacy. He'd be proud :)

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  11. I am careful with nicknames. My given name is easily truncated to a diminutive I do not like so I am sensitive to the same with others. I did, however, once give someone a nickname that stuck. I will forever remember one of my college friends as Sticky.

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    1. Understood. I absolutely hate being called Jane because X called me that.

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  12. Only my kiddos got cutesy names from me, and never cruel ones. I also didn't use those names outside the house. Name calling may seem a light matter, but I know it isn't.
    In fiction, though, I get my dose of naming. My characters have no choice.

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    1. I still call my son by his nickname, but it's not something that would ever be taken as cruel or unpleasant.

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  13. I do that:) I called someone lemon cream once. It's a sandwich cookie here in South Africa that has a sour filling. The lady kept being miserable with me. But that probably counts as the mean kind.

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    1. I don't think that's mean at all, Murees. In fact, I think it's funny.

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  14. Replies
    1. Straight to the point as always. That's you, Jo-Anne.

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  15. 'If you've been George for seven years, then who were you before that?' Ha!

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  16. I do the easy one by making up names for the current President. So much to work with there.

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  17. Didn't want to go with "Okey Donkey?" Or "Spliffy Diffy?" Regardless, if he has worked as a cashier at Target for a day or 7 years, go ahead, please be super high. And yes, there's still a colleague of my spouse who I know as nothing other than "Elbow Patches Pipe Guy" (said really quick as all one word).

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  18. I love giving nicknames to strangers. It's actually one of my favorite pastimes. I'm glad to read your post and the comments to know I'm not the only one!

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  19. I am dismal at thinking up nicknames, sadly. I do love hearing about other people's, though :)

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  20. I had a friend whose father used to call any of us girls who were over at the house in high school names like "Gertrude" of "Martha"-names he knew were not correct on purpose, instead of accidentally calling us the wrong thing. ;)

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  21. My old boss used to call me BB. I do have nicknames for some people but sometimes I am bad because..um.....it may be construed as an insult. These are usually regarding clients I have seen. One who never seems to be happy, I call eyeore from Winnybthe Pooh. Anotherbis called Dipsey Doodle and a third is just called Bitch.

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  22. Funny post, JJ! I admit to occasional mental, not-uttered, nicknames for certain people in my life. And I've been collecting various nicknames for our leader which is hilarious fun.

    As a second and third grade teacher, I had to spend time dealing with conflicts and hurt feelings over nicknames. This age group has a heightened sensitivity of what is fair and what is not. The topic of fairness cropped up all the time. Young kids can be creatively cruel with nick names. So we would have class meetings every year, sometimes multiple times, over the issue of names and nicknames and the fairness of using them.

    The worst brouhaha occurred when one of my white boys whispered to the black girl sitting next to him (during a spelling test) that she had lips swelled up like a pufferfish. So for several days she was "Pufferfish," and what a time I had dealing with the fallout and stamping out the use of that nickname!

    Who would suspect that a science word I added to the spelling test for bonus points could lead to meetings with the principal, the social worker, the psychologist, and outraged parents on both sides of the racial divide, not to mention having to rearrange the seats in my classroom?

    I would always share that I had multiple nicknames when I was a kid based on both Myrtle and Louise, as in variations of "Myrtle the turtle lost her girdle" and "Weasel" and that those and other nicknames I was plagued with really hurt. So there was a lot of emphasis on learning what name each child wished to use and learning its correct spelling.

    I don't have a problem with nicknames now, and I always happy when I get a big hug from my brother and he whispers, "I love you so much, Weasel." LOL

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