What’s in a name?

So I get a call from a number I didn’t recognize. I noticed the area code and exchange were familiar to my hometown. So i answered. I hear:

Caller: “Is this Anthony?”

Me: “Yes”

Caller: “Do you know who this is?”

Me: “No”

Caller: “This yo’ cousin.”

Me: “That aint helping me at all. I got more than 1 cousin.”

Caller: “It’s Fats!”

Safe to say, I recognized “Fat’s” as my younger cousin. I haven’t talked to him in many years since he had been locked up and is now back home. It was good to hear from him and catch up.

But anyway. . . .

I had a mindless thought about that call. How many times can someone call you and say this is “Fat’s” or some other nickname and you actually know who it is? I don’t mean nicknames like “Big John.” I mean nicknames like in my family such as “Fat’s” or “Boo” or “Poo-poo”. (yeah I got a cousin named “poo-poo”)

I don’t know if it’s regional, cultural, or just my family, but nicknames are fascinating to me. Growing up I had several. Did you? Here are a few of mine. Keep in mind that it was easy to nickname a kid like me considering I was a pretty unusual lookin’ kid as well as just being unusual in general.

1. Strutter This was because I’m bow-legged and my aunt thought I used to “strut”.

2. Bullet head I got a big, odd shaped head. It looked even more odd as a kid.

3. Too-Boo I have NO IDEA what that really meant. Supposedly it’s because I was tall.

Now my family had some really interesting nicknames, especially my great uncles and other older cousins. Here are a few:

1. Weese I have no idea why my uncle was called this. His name was ROGER.

2. Man-boy This uncle got that name as a kid because he was getting it on with girls at a VERY YOUNG AGE apparently. So he was like a “man-boy”.

3. Sook This is my grandmother’s nickname. I think it came from when she first started smoking grass as a youth. Not weed/marijuana, but GRASS.

4. Bim This is my grandfather’s nickname. He got this because his name is William Leroy, so his siblings called him “WM”, BUT the younger relatives at da time couldn’t say “WM”, so they called him “Bim”.

5. Fats As previously mentioned, this is my younger cousin. I’ve NEVER seen this kid as fat. He was always a light-weight. I don’t know why they gave him that name.

Yall readers have any nicknames or have some interesting ones in your family? Feel free to share if you’re not too ashamed of ’em. 🙂

Thanks for readin’, yall.

-RAP, II
@antpruitt

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3 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. It ain’t just you, Ant. My family had their share of strange nicknames, especially in my folks’ generation.

    DUKE: This was my dad’s nickname. It doesn’t seem that odd until you remember that our last name is Head.

    GRANNY: My uncle. I have no idea why a grown man, especially a 6’3″ redneck, would want to be known as “granny”. He did market a line of fishing lures known as “Granny’s Baits” for a while.

    SOOKIE: My grandmother’s nickname (but only to my 5’10” grandfather, Paw-Paw). What else would you call a 6′ 2″ half-Creek woman who could lay the smack down on you?

    EFFIE: This was the name my other grandfather gave to his late 70’s Buick. He cried the day it got totaled.

  2. JEE-BOO: apparently my brother couldn’t pronounce my name when we were younger.

    Which then morphed into:

    JENNY-POOH: Which is what my mother and her boyfriend at the time called me for YEARS. (Winnie the Pooh) If anyone else tries to call me this, they get the daggers-out-the-eyeballs glare.

    And the many, many nicknames associated with redheads:
    Red, Torch, Fireball, Flame, etc, etc, etc.

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