Sunday, October 02, 2005

Spinning-my-wheels Sun. - Here a nick,there a nick?

When I started the whole nickname thing for the blog, I did it mainly because it amused me. However, as I tried to apply it, and have come across so many nicknameless friends, I have discovered something.

I stink at coming up with nicknames.

Stopping to look at all of the pre-existing nicknames for my friends, I realized that the majority of them were bestowed by someone else: Flunky was result of my Grandmother; Zinger the result of an amusing anecdote; Dr. G'ovich was the result of one very odd night in Parker which also resulted in my moniker Electric Toad; but I had little, if any, hand in any of them. Some others were self-selected: The Wiz, Rose Hips the Enforcer, Honey Buns the Informant, Fellow Book Monkey and Blogger Bubblegum Tate (at least the Bubblegum Tate part) to name a few. About the only nick I can remember coming up with for sure is The Wiz's former moniker of "Joe." Not the most creative nick, I grant you, but there was a story behind it. I may also have had a hand in Flunky's "Nature Boy" nickname, but that very easily could have been someone else, it's been far, far too long to remember distinctly.

Still, this nicknaming deficiency had never come to the foreground before since, honestly, how often do you get called upon to generate a new, clever, and usable nickname? But now this odd gap in my creative matrix is driving me crazy.

Let me use one the Parkerites as an example: the wife of the man known as The Eskimo. The Eskimo's nick has been around for ages, and I have no clue where exactly it originated. As far as I know, his spouse has none. I don't feel comfortable referring to her only in context of her marriage to him, i.e. "The Eskimo’s Wife." It's one thing for me to call Flunky's wife Flunky Lover, since she came up with it herself and I thought it was funny (plus, the only nick I knew of for her was what Flunky used to call her back in the day: Snoop, as in Dogg), but to just stick the label of so-and-so's wife on someone effectively marks them as an afterthought to anyone reading this.

But what are my options? Yes, I know stuff about her: she lived in Parker, she's an engineer, she has a sister, she does photography, she just had her first kid, etc. But none of that resonates strongly enough to generate a nickname, and I don't know any funny or embarrassing-but-not-too-embarrassing anecdotes to inspire me, and, and . . . and why the heck do I care so much about the stupid nicknames anyway?

Well, aside from the borderline OCD aspect, I suppose it's because on some level, even though they were only intended to be funny, I really want the nicknames to hold some sort of meaning. Call it the writer in me. But the best nicknames are inspired by the moment, crafted out of circumstances beyond your control, not just thrown together in an instant because I need to talk about X and have no other way to refer to him/her. I don’t want to just go “Gee, I need to mention this guy, let’s see, he’s a fireman, let’s call him, um, I know, The Fireman*!” Or, at least, I don’t want to do that anymore.

Still, there’s some hope. After a couple of social outings with The Singles yesterday, I now have nicknames for at least two previously un-nicked people. They may not carry out into the outside world at all, but they amuse and satisfy me, and that’s enough to quiet the OCD-nicknaming monkey on my back. I have a feeling that from now on, anytime I’m around any of the nicknameless ones, I’m going to be on an eagle-eyed lookout for anything that might qualify as inspiration. “A-ha! She just stubbed her toe, from now on she’ll be known as Stubby!”

And if you think I'm getting hung up on the nickname thing, wait till you get a load of my “assigning everyone roles” difficulties . . .

Needless to say, the Cast of Characters list might be delayed a bit.


Too said...

I understand your dilemma more than you could possibly know. As I have only just begun my own blog, much inspired by yours, I felt it necessary to use nicknames to identify the friends unfortunate enough to be mentioned. So, last week I stole a nick from you. Yes, I confess. I stole Disaster Girl, which I hear you did not think a very creative or original name, but I find that it is a perfect fit for her. I did not steal the name and run, laughing maliciously, however. I did give you props for it!!!