On Nicknames and All That


If you read the scientific literature, and I have, guys use nicknames to establish dominance over one another.  The guy giving the nickname effectively strips the other guy of his very identity, and assigns him a new name.  Brutal if you think about it.  

But I love nicknames.  Nicknames are fun.  When guys get together, nicknames are handed out like Chicago parking tickets.  Something always happens that earns a guy a nickname, and those are the best nicknames.  Nicknames can come and go, but sometimes they stick for life.  Back at the fraternity we would line the pledges up (literally), and assign new names.  This wasn’t always pleasant for the guy getting the nickname, as I can personally attest, but that was kind of the point.

Nicknames can come from something specific that happened (“Pukie,” “Princess,” “Queenie,” “Ginman,” “Rub”), from a play on the guy’s name (“Shogun,” “Seadick,” “Walt,” “Butthead”), from some characteristic of the person (“Angry,” “N00Bs,” “Noodle,” “Tiny,” “Sleepy,” “Slim,” “Talker,” “Copper Crotch,” “Kool,” “Eggplant,” “Ratt,” “Pipes,” “Grandpa,” “Die Hard,” “Boy Genius), a connection or resemblance to someone or some thing, real or fictional (“Satan,” “Otis,” “Wally,” “Beaver”), where the guy comes from, or where he might have come from (“Tex,” “The Englishman,” “Kaiser”), a shortened form of words that describe the guy (“TH,” “IJ”), an inside joke that evolves into a new name (“Tito,” “DJMH”) or out of absolutely nowhere (“Puddleduck,” “Mongo,” “Tater,” “Spud,” “Schmeezle”).  Nicknames are limited only by the imagination of the human mind.

President George W. Bush is the recognized GOAT in giving nicknames.  W, easily the most accomplished immature frat boy of all time, would hand out nicknames to anyone and everyone.  He was famous for it.  And if you are the leader of the free world, you pretty much sit at the top of the food chain, and can dish out nicknames to whoever you want.  With great power comes great responsibility, and W used his power to responsibly nickname everyone he ever came in contact with.  

Dick Cheney was “Big Time,” Don Rumsfeld was “Rummy,” Alberto Gonzales was “Fredo,” Michael Brown of Hurricane Katrina fame was “Brownie,” John McCain was “Hogan” (Hogan’s Heroes, get it), Chris Christie was “Big Boy,” and the absolute best one of all, and easily top ten in greatest nicknames ever, Karl Rove was “Turd Blossum.”  Damn genius that W, at least at giving out nicknames.

Well, I have a great new nickname to hand out, but no one to give it to.  At least not YET.  The Sandman!  The Sandman, of course, is the mythical person who puts people to sleep with his sleep dust, or whatever it is.  The Sandman would be a perfect nickname for a linebacker or an anesthesiologist, of course, but I’m thinking it would be a good name for a really boring guy.  You know, the guy who talks all the time and never says anything.  Or maybe the guy who is just sort of there, and no one knows how or why he is even in the group, but there he is all the time.  The Sandman!  Perfect.

So the next time I meet a guy who is boring as hell, he is getting a new nickname.  The Sandman.  Live with it.

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