N is for Nicknames, names one nicks

Elizabeth was totally off the table, despite being the name of the only British monarch in my lifetime.

One of the great things my father did was to name me Roger, which does not engender a lot of nicknames. He also did not name me after himself, also good. That might have gotten m called Junior, or Bud (like on the TV show Father Knows Best).

I was thinking about this because Rob Hoffman wrote about nicknames, and specifically about how certain names are more prone to variations.

“Elizabeth – (Betty, Beth, Liz, Lizzie, Betts, Bette) This name provides a lot of flexibility. Elizabeth is royal, while Betty is a fun neighbor with a silly laugh. Liz is a ‘good-time,’ but Lizzie is downright dangerous.)” Which is why, when naming our daughter, Elizabeth was totally off the table, despite being the name of the only British monarch in my lifetime AND my late mother’s middle name.

Mom, BTW, was named Gertrude, after her mother. She was usually called Gertie by her cousins, which she disliked less than her formal name, but not by much. As an adult, though, she became Trudy and THAT suited her.

My father was named Leslie, but he always was Les in my reckoning. Les is also the shortened form of Lester, though, and some people, in an attempt to be formal, referred to him with that moniker. You could see him bristle.

Roger doesn’t really lend itself to shortening, other than Rog, and I like that. There have been attempts to give me nicknames, and I always fought them off. When I was a janitor at Binghamton (NY) City Hall in the spring and summer of 1975, one of the other custodians tried to dub me “Flash”, because I got my core work done in six hours, and then would do the extra stuff, such as buffing the floor, and still have time to talk to the police captain, or read, or clean the doors yet another time – glass doors always have fingerprints.

He and his colleague took as long as they could, never did work beyond what was required, and sometimes not even that. So they called me Flash, I acted as though I didn’t hear them. Eventually, they gave up.

For ABC Wednesday

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

16 thoughts on “N is for Nicknames, names one nicks”

  1. Your father was a wise man 😉

    My father did not have a choice, the women in his life (his wife and his mother and mother-in-law) set my name… which I very much dislike by the way. How strange how just 4 letters can irritate one, is it not?
    thankfully almost nobody calls me by my real name, most of them leave the last two away..and I am okay with that.

    Have a splendid, ♥-warming ABC-WEDNES-day / – week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

  2. I had several nicknames and none are currently in use. We did learn something interesting about our Dad’s name, which didn’t exactly fit his nickname of Zeke. His mother wanted to combine her and her sister’s names, thinking she would have a girl. Fortunately, she had to alter that decision and choose Zelna as an alternative to Hazelena, a name I think no girl would have appreciated. The family mystery was solved!

  3. I have one (now distant) friend who always insisted on calling me “Les” and I hate it, always have, always will. Not me at all.


  4. Oh, Hildred doesn’t lend itself to nicknames, – my mother, Dorothy, was called Dolly, and my daughter, Dorothy, is called Dot.

  5. Nicknames are part of life, they come unwanted fortunately or unfortunately.
    Happy ABCW!

  6. Nicknames got me in trouble at the doctors the other day. They kept calling for Peg. I’ve never answered to that name, but Peg and Peggy are nicknames for Margaret. How they got that written on my chart I’ll never know. I go by Margy pronounced with a hard “g” not like Margie. – Margy

  7. Great N post – fortunately I only had to deal with shorten-ings of my name. And Jesh for the internet was my own, because I got tired of typing 9 letters:)
    Thanks about your comment – all around us are fires, N. N-E, and E. Very thankful we are spared, but it’s too healthy to stay outside for long, because of inhalation of the smoke, as soon as I step out the door.

  8. My favorite nickname was given me by my godfather. He was the only who called me it. Sing. I think it was a Filipino diminutive of Susing, which is a diminutive of Susie.

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