Sunday, May 24, 2009

What is in a nickname?

I’ve had tons through my entire life. Short names. Long names. Weird names. Evil names. By my last count, I’ve had 10 so far and have not reached middle age yet. So I am due for many more. Shall we go over the list and how I got these names? Why not? Come waltz with me down memory lane and share in a good laugh.

Stinky - this was my very first nickname. My mother gave it to me when I was very young whenever I forgot to take a bath. Let’s just say I forgot to take baths a lot.

Michele-my-bell - yes, I deliberately misspelled my first name. My second grade teacher gave this one to me. OH HOW I HATED HER! She would deliberately misspell my name at ever given moment and then chuckle whenever I corrected her about it. Imagine: a teacher grading you on your spelling test but had the nerve to mess up your name. Even worse, when I complained about it at home, my older sister laughed and then came up with a rhyme to further irritate me. ‘Michele my bell who fell in the well and went to Hell.’

*shudder* I soooo hated that name.

Mishmash - I also had this moniker in my second grade class. There was an old song that used to go, “Splish-splash, I’ll be taking a bath all alone on a Saturday night. Rub-a-dub, I’m relaxing in the tub” . . . something-something. It was a very big hit during the time. Then someone got the bright idea to combine the Splish-splash part with my name and Viola! Mishmash. This nickname lasted all the way up to MY HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION.

Yes, on that most sacred of days that the students should hold in reverence, the principal called my name as I walked across the stage to receive my diploma. Unbeknownst to me, an old friend whose family had moved away several years ago had returned to the area to visit their grandmother. She stopped by the ceremony and sat in the back row.

Halfway across the stage as I approached the principal, a loud cry filled the echoing room. “YAY, MISHMASH!”

Sigh, I suppose it could have been worse. When my brother graduated, the whole female student body yelled out, “HOT LIPS!”

Michigan - this nickname lasted for a week in the sixth grade. I got the name because the class was studying geography and we had to name the 50 United States. Each person had a chance to pick a place on the map and name the state that sat there. Yep, I knew where Michigan was.

Michelle Hiccup - I came across this nickname in middle school. Several of my friends believed the moniker, “Mishmash” had become outdated and they wanted a new one for me. Someone hiccuped, and they all laughed and gave it to me for a last name. In all honesty, I kinda liked Mishmash better. Then again, “Hiccup” is an improvement from “Hickman.”

Dear - a very special person gave me this name in high school. He was a great person: kind/gentle/fun. He was on a work co-op, so during the lunch hour he would leave for his job. He would pass by me in the hall and say, “Hello, dear. How are you today?” Or “Dear, do you have any change for a dollar?” Or “Dear, do you happen to have an extra stick of gum on you?”

I would respond, “Hi, honey. I’m doing fine. Yes, you know I always carry extra change. Here, take the rest of the gum. I have another pack in my locker.”

Sigh, some nicknames I enjoy revisiting.

Satan - MWAHAHAHA! I had this infernal name during high school when I also attended a vocational school for three years where I took computer programming classes. When given our lockers, I opened mine to see my nefarious moniker written in black marker on the inside. The same thing happened again the following school year with a different locker.


Chelle - my wonderful nephews and niece gave this one to me about seven years ago when I was their nanny. Basically, they couldn’t pronounce “Michelle” so they just shortened it.

MDGF (my dark gray friend) - my very first cyber-nickname given to me by a very special person in Blogotopia last summer. It’s one of my favorites, to be sure, and I hope it lasts for as long as our friendship lasts.

Surly - Huh? Not sure where this one came along, but I started to notice people calling me this on my blog and at other places. I can’t for the life of me figure out why. *shrugs*


  1. I can't put all the names I've been called...ahem..teehee

    But some are: Boop, Wolfsister, Kitty Kat, 'thryn, Pagoda Moon....

  2. Kat: Well... I'm not one to put the more, ahem, risque ones up either. Hee-hee!

    Wolfsister? I like that one!

  3. Call me anything except Late for Supper. No nicknames that come to mind. Coach O is fine by me.

  4. Wow; 10 nicknames! I don't have one single one.;)) To tell you the truth, I have always liked the name Michelle, simply beautiful.;)

  5. I think I may start calling you Shelly Girl. (Us in the south DO love our nicknames.) The gray one's good too. :)

  6. My mother and therfore my family called me Lucy until I was about 13 and I have no idea where that came from.

  7. Oren: No nicknames? Not even one? But I always assumed guys have lots of them. I'm thinking of you as Coach O now.

    Protege: But wait! Maybe you do have one.

    I think "Protege" would be perfect. I'm not sure where it came from. I just thought of the name right off the top of my head. :)

    Angie: Shelly? Strange, you would think that would have been on my list. But nobody ever called me this.

    Funny Girl: I was once called Shelia in 6th grade. The things people will come up with. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  8. I don't think I've ever had a nickname, but I've been called every variation of my name...Theresa, Teri, Tish. But the best one is the one Chris calls me and that's simply "T". Cute blog."Michelle my bell who fell in a well and went to hell." I guess we can laugh about that one now...right? Thanks for sharing.

  9. I too have had a jillion nicknames. maybe I'll blog about them soon.

  10. I'm usually just called "Mr. Principal" or worse.

  11. Oh ... I just hate it when someone misspells my name ... and a teacher, no less, misspelled yours. Shameful!

    I recently headed to my childhood home for a visit and saw relatives that I hadn't seen for years ... and they came armed with all my childhood names. I won't mention them here (they are too close to my "real" name) but ... I loved hearing them again ... they were all given to me with love and affection.

    Great post ... I think this is the first one I've ever read on nicknames! :)

    Small Footprints

  12. Theresa: Yes, that one is safe to laugh about now!

    Travis: Please, do blog about them. I love finding out the reasons people give out nicknames. It's fascinating.

    Chris: In your line of profession, I can imagine the worse from my own school days and the principal I had. Yikes!

    Small Footprints: Nicknames can sure bring back the memories. And now that we are older, we can really appreciate the reasons why we had them and get a good laugh.

  13. I surely can't figure out the surly one either. I sure do like the MDGF/MLGF thing you have going on with Suldog though. I think it's sweet.

  14. Hilary: Surely, you jest... ;)

    MDGF- That's a fav of mine too.

  15. MDGF - When your name is "Sullivan", "Sully" is a given. Everybody automatically calls you that. So, I've always had at least one. And "Suldog" has been hanging around my neck for quite a few years, too. But, "MLGF" (My Light Grey Friend) is one I treasure, given not because of ease or tradition, but because of respect and love. I thank you for it.

  16. Jim: *sniffle* You are very much welcome, MLGF!

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