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The Anatomy of a Nickname

Jun 17, 1996
Kimmy Sophia Brown
My brother was dubbed "Pud" when he was a baby. Both of our parents have passed on, so I can't ask them where they came up with that doozy of a nickname. His given name is Fenton, and he is the third Fenton in a line of Fentons. He never liked his name. In high school he called himself Baron Von Stompinboots, and later, he became Dutch. I don't know where that came from either, but now as he pushes the golden age of 50, he remains Dutch.

We live in Virginia and I have noticed since we've lived here that many of the politicians have nicknames. Driving along country roads in Virginia, you see campaign posters that read something like: Billy Bob "Lard-Boy" Horseknuckles for Dogcatcher; Clarence "Ringworm" Foggybottom for Tax Sniffer; or Lurlene "Tickly" Buford for Hog Inspector.

I have often wondered where such nicknames come from. In my family we have a few odd little names that emerged as I was singing my children to sleep, or bathing them or diapering their bums. Tymon became, "Tymony Boo", (or Tymony Boop de Boo) which is sung to the tune of "Winnie the Pooh". Gracie was "Gracie Gumdrop" and later became "Gracie Goobadee" which turned into a little jingle that goes "Gracie Gracie Gracie Goobadee, Scoobie Scoobie Scoobie doobadee". (I love a song with deep lyrics.) Ranin became "Raney Rooney"-- "He's a little Raney Rooney, and he's such a little cutie pie, He's the apple of my eye, He's a little Raney Rooney pie--Chubby bump bump bump." (He was also known as the "Chubby Bump" or "My little Egg-shaped Boy".) Tadin has been called "Tadey Toodle" (or "Toody Loo") which amorphed into a song that goes: "Tadey Toodle like a noodle, Tadey Toodle deedle doodle"

At the ripe old age of two and a half, Tadin has started talking. Except for me, he's renamed everyone in our house. I'm "Mama", but Tymon is "Deebah", Gracie is "Dada", Ranin is "Ray-ay" and he called himself, "Weh." Curious as these names are, the most peculiar is that he calls his daddy, "Weo."

Peter says to him everyday, "What's my name?" Tadin smiles up at him and says, "Weo." Peter says to him, "I'm not Weo. My name is Daddy! What's my name?" And Tadin, grinning because he knows it's not the right name, but now a family joke, says, "Weo."

So Peter started calling him "Son of Weo." And I took that further to, "Big Weo" and "Little Weo." Now Peter calls him, "Little Wee." If we were Scottish, he'd become "Wee Wee". Where does it stop?

I imagine Tadin grown up, the father of five children, the husband of a lovely wife, the founder of a thriving business. He gets the inspiration to run for Congress. There it is, on all the campaign posters; Tadin "Little Wee" Brown. Can the public have faith in a candidate with a name like that?

Peter might run for office in the future, so I suggested to him that we give him a commanding nickname that would bring him respect in Virginia, like: "Buck" or "Pete Doggy Dog". Then Tadin could become "Little Buck" or "Little Doggy Dog". Peter responded by offering to give me a nickname like "Puddin'head" or something equally dignified.

Oh well. Now I'm thinking of changing Tadin's nickname to something like "Rambo" or "T-Rex". Anything will be more merciful than forcing him to spend his entire adulthood living down a name like "Little Wee."

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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