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Posts tagged: nicknames

Neighborhood nicknames

Everyone is familiar with the idea of coming up with a nickname for a neighbor whose real name you don't know or can't remember.

Often these made-up monikers would be tough for a far-removed stranger to guess. But every morning I ride my bike past a certain home. And I have a guess about what the people who live nearby call the guy who lives there. I don't think they really have a choice.

The Front Yard Farmer.

Just so we’re clear

It's not a compliment when relatives refer to your son as “The Dauphin.”

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Difference between marrieds and singles

Single people sometimes have entertaining nicknames for the boyfriends or girlfriends of their peers.

Writing about greyhounds in the previous post reminded me of a guy named Sam. He was an artist at the newspaper where we worked in another city.

There was a greyhound race track there. (I never went, though I did visit the short-lived greyhound track in Post Falls for a story years later.)

The features editor at that paper never tired of assigning stories on the dog track. And Sam used to mock her by adopting an acid tone and saying with gushing insincerity; “Race dogs go fast!”

Anyway, Sam had a girlfriend widely known as Three Alarm Donna.

I'm not sure how fast she went, but there was a fair amount of speculation. 

The origins of nicknames

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Sometimes nicknames are acquired by accident.

At my first newspaper job right out of college, one of my fellow reporters was a nice guy named Rick Velotta. Well, once a typesetter made a mistake and his byline came out “Rock Velotta.”

Eventually, people stopped calling him “Rock.” But as I recall, it took awhile.

A few years later, after I had moved a couple of times, I was playing the board game “Risk” with some colleagues. One of the people playing was a fine fellow named Steve Sherretta. He was the business editor at the paper where we worked.

At some point, in the heat of game-playing, I called him “Stu.”

I have no idea why. He had never been called that in his life. And I didn't even know a Stu at that time.

But that one stuck. Steve became Stu. He didn't seem to mind, which was fortunate.

I have every confidence that those still in touch with him call him that to this day.  

By any other name

The other day, I mentioned the practice of referring to neighbors by nicknames.

That prompted a note from a South Hill waitress. “We have plenty of code names for some of our customers,” she wrote.

Among the examples she shared were “The good son,” “Bionic couple,” “Churchies,” “Werewolf,” and “The pissers.”

She concluded by saying she's sure this is standard practice for servers who routinely find themselves waiting on regulars.

I wonder if Werewolf is a good tipper.

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About this blog

Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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