I donít know why, but I donít have a nickname. Names and
nicknames are said to have a powerful influence on our lives.
not really talking about computer nicknames or even CB radio
handles, as we used to call them, names like "motor-mouth" and "roadrunner." Iím
talking about the colorful nicknames given by friends or family
because they seem to describe looks or personality, names like
Sparky, Curly, Stubby, or Buzz. These nicknames have more
individuality than real names, which often come from literature,
favorite movie actors, or rich relatives whom parents wanted to
Now some purists will tell you such names are not nicknames
at all, but "pet names". Nicknames, they say, are
those that are a shortened version of a real name or derived
from the original given name.
This sort of nickname makes sense,
in a way. Calling a person Beth instead of Elizabeth is much
quicker and easier than saying the entire name, Iíve never
quite figured out some nicknames, though. Bob for Robert or Rita
for Margaret makes a little bit of sense, but Dick for Richard
makes none at all to me.
Some families seem to be more into the tradition of nicknames
or "pet names" than others are. My late husbandís
family always favored nicknames. His name was "Dumps"
until he was almost grown. That was a shortening of the nickname
"Dumpling" given him as a baby His brother was Bubba.
His sister, whose real name could have been easily shortened,
was instead called Sis.
You must be careful what you call your
kids as childhood nicknames can stick. His older brother Gerald,
never became Jerry, though - probably because he was so big and
mean that nobody dared give him a nickname.
Come to think of it, what sort of nickname could be given to
shorten a name like Sheila? I looked on several lists of
nicknames to see what I could find, but the only suggestion was
Cecilia. That is not a nickname at all but simply another form
of the same name. So much for that idea.
The trend nowadays is just to name the child what you are
going to call them. My mom was ahead of her time as she named my
sister Patty instead of Patricia. When Patty was a child, she
always got mad if anyone shortened her name to Pat. Now she
likes to be called Pat and doesnít want to be called Patty. Go
If the trend to name kids what you call them continues,
there will be a lot of kids called "Be Quiet,"
"Go Play," and "Donít Spill It."
Some nicknames seemed to be simply a way to keep from getting
two people in the family with the same name mixed up, like
Junior when son is named after dad. At my house we had two Davidís,
Big David and Little David. When Little David became bigger than
Big David, Big David had to become Dave. Now Little David is
called Dave. It all gets very confusing.
Some people say that when they were a kid and their mother
called them by their real name instead of their nickname, they
knew that they were in trouble. "Come here. James",
instead of "Come here, Jimmy," meant serious stuff was
brewing. Maybe thatís why I donít have a nickname. I always
stayed in trouble.
At least computers have given us a chance to recycle those
forgotten nicknames or to acquire one that we never had. I only
wish that I could think of a good nickname for Sheila. One
online friend who will go unnamed sometimes calls me Shesh! But,
what sort of nickname is that? On the other hand, I suppose Iíve
been called worse things.
Maybe I should just be happy to be who I am and not worry
about being one of the few people in the world who never had a