Friday, June 4, 2010


Did you have nicknames in school? I came in at the very end of that era. In early grade school we lived in a no man lands between 2 ethnic neighborhoods. The Italian kids had nicknames, and the Polish kids had nicknames, but if you weren't one of the group you used them at your peril. We had a few Whitey's,Red's and Lefty's but not many.

That changed in high school. I went to an all boys school, and the custom was to call each boy by the diminutive of his name. We were Jimmy, and Bobby and Tommy....

For most, they were last called Jimmy, on graduation day. It was a custom instantly shed, once you were out of that hell hole. Never again would you hear yourself being called with that hated suffix.

Mrs. T and I went to a talk at the local library last night. Air Force Lt. General Timothy XYZ (ret) was going to talk about something terribly important to him. Think the movie Patton, when George is running all over the UK giving speeches to old ladies prior to D-Day. I didn't much care, but he was a classmate, so I thought I'd give a listen.

I have no memory of his speech. Once I realized it was canned speech #34 I tuned out. It was clear from the reactions of the 50 or so people in attendance the General had not sold his audience.

Eventually, the speech ended and the moderator opened the floor to questions. Perhaps James can relate, but question 1 had something to do with health care and social security. The General was there, he worked for the Feds, the question was about the Feds. Seemed fair. Next question must have come from talk radio. The general was getting testy, looking at his watch, stalling for time to run out.

I'd had enough, and was attempting to convey leaving time to my bride, when #3 stood up. He looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place him.

Timmy, he begins. He had me at Timmy. We sat down.

The moderator was on his feet in a heart beat. Have you a question for General XYZ, sir.

Yes, says #3. Timmy, do you...

Moderator again chimed in.

#3 begins again. For 4 years, I sat next to the General every GD day. He was Timmy then, he's Timmy today.

Once the crowd understood they were dealing with Timmy,not General, all the tension left the room. 5 minutes later Timmy was out the door, and giving whomever on the other end of his cell phone hell.

Score one for the peeps.



Martha said...

Loved it!!!!

Suburban Princess said...

Hehehehe! That's awesome!

Kathy said...

My oldest brother is a Methodist minister, generally very laid back, easy going, very approachable. But, when one of his parishioners addressed him familiarly as "Bobby" instead of the usual Bob, or Revrund Bob, which usually welcomes, he icily corrected the man, telling him that only his family could call him Bobby. He'll always be Bobby to me, and apparently he likes it that way. Thanks for the morning smile!

old polo said...

Pompousity is a wonderful thing to puncture.

James said...

Very good story. Nicknames do bring one back to an even playing field.

JMW said...

Classic. Yep, in dealing with a number of family members this week while Mom has been in the hospital, I've heard "Jenny" numerous times. I haven't gone by Jenny since I was 5, but to my aunts, uncles and cousins, I'll always be Jenny. :)

David V said...

My friends call me David.
Acquaintances call me Dave (cringe)
But only my wife calls me Davey

Patsy said...

Through the magic of Facebook, I've reconnected with a whole bunch of Jimmys, Peteys, Robbys, Tommys and Timmys who are now Jims, Peters, Roberts, Toms and Tims.

Shelley said...

If you've not read the book Snobs , I think you might enjoy it. Written by Julian Fellowes (I think it's spelled) who also did the screen play for the wonderful film, Gosford Park, it points out how upper class folks have ludicrous names for one another, ie 'Mogsie' or 'Grunkie' or something equally as stupid. Then when newbies come on the scene who are trying to join their circle, it is incredibly difficult for them to know how to address the inner circle members. Effectively keeps the climbers out, don't you know.