Thursday, April 16, 2009


I had several nicknames in my younger days. When I was very young, my father called me "Tink." It may have been short for either Tinkerbell or Stink. I'm not sure. I remember having a plastic placemat at the dinner table with Tinkerbell on it, so it may have been that I had an obsession with Tinkerbell. I also remember getting excited with the beginning of Sunday (?) Night at the Movies, when Tinkerbell flew across the t.v. screen.

In an earlier post I referred to growing up in a trailer park and some of the residents calling Brother Jack and me "Springy" and "Nappy." I'm still not sure which one I was; either would have been appropriate.

In high school, I was called "Brillo." As in the steel wool pad. That was a not-so-subtle reference to my hair. Considering I was readily able to wear my hair in an afro when that was the style, the nickname is not surprising. I keep telling my hairdresser I'm ready for big hair to come back in style. I'll be ready when it does.

Another high school nickname emerged from the fact that we were one of the silliest classes ever to matriculate from high school. It's a wonder any of us made it to adulthood without a pacifier, much less with decent careers and normal children. We had a habit of taking the first letter of a person's first and last names and switching them. Thus Rex Martin became Mex Rartin. People whose names started with vowels presented a problem, as did those with alliterative names, like Mike Malcolm and Lisa Lee. When we did that with my name, it became Wena Dilliams. Wena was just too close to "weiner," so "Weiner" I became. There is one particular classmate of mine who would call me Weiner if I ran into him on the street tomorrow. I avoid running into him at all costs.

After I started teaching high school, my last name was Tiller for a while. (Shudder, gasp, gag, barf. Not that I'm bitter or anything.) One year I went through a little spell of killing animals on the way to school, so I became known as "Killer Tiller." It made me sound like a tough teacher (which I liked) instead of the animal killer that I actually was. Once it was a dog. He darted out in front of me, and I hit him before I could slam on brakes. I tearfully knocked on every door, knowing it was going to make me late for school. I finally found the owner, and he was more concerned that I was all right, because I had tears streaming down my face. He didn't seem that upset about the dog. He couldn't possibly have loved it as much as I love Gus. Another morning I hit a rooster. I still maintain that the rooster was suicidal. He was standing beside a mailbox, and when I got even with him, he jumped up and in front of my car. The traumatic part came when I had to stop about a half mile further down the road at a stop sign and he fell off. Then there was the deer. I didn't actually kill him, but he hilled my car. He jumped up and ran off into the darkness, leaving me with several thousands of dollars in damage to my car.

One of my friends got saddled with the nickname "Crisco" by a guy in school who thought she had a lard ass. Stupid guy, he should have known that Crisco isn't lard at all. We had "Hot" Thomas, not only because he WAS hot, but because that was also what his father was known by. We called Mike "Mouse," and I'm not sure where that one came from. One of my brother's friends was "Pyro," and I don't even WANT to know where he got that one. Although I never ever heard my brother referred to by the nickname "Mongoose," he had that very word tatooed on his arm during his stay at a correctional institution. Maybe he was trying to throw someone off; I'm not sure.

Some nicknames can be cruel, and it seems as though they are the ones that are more likely to stick.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

You know my given name and all the weird stuff that rhymes with it but even with that I never was given a nickname- thankfully- that stuck. And my previous blogger moniker had stuck with some folks, but only in "blogworld" not in real life. The closest i came was my father who occasionally called me Gracie-- since I was such a klutz. I always wanted a cool nickname, but I think, after reading this, I don't mind that it never happened.