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Monday, 23 July 2012

Hairy man child

A discussion of nicknames. Knicknames? No, definitely nicknames. I think.

The first nickname I ever had was the traditional in my family 'tut', given to the oldest son of the oldest son etc. I was Tut, my Dad was Tut, Grandad Bully was Tut... I don't know how the name got started and no-one in my family could tell me either, but one thing I do know is that I never really took to it. In fact, to be honest, whenever anyone referred to me by that name it always felt; and I'm aware that this is yet another symptom of my burgeoning paranoia; like they were doing so in a condescending fashion, sniggering at me.

 I don't know why I felt that way about the name, but I did. Maybe I felt I wasn't worthy of it, or on the other hand, maybe I felt that I didn't want to be associated with that lineage. The 2nd is more likely.

So the first nickname I had that I actually felt that I could embrace, and didn't feel like a closet insult, was the one I got when I was about 10. It reflected an aspect of my personality rather than a quirk of my birth and it was given to me by someone I liked and looked up to. I felt like I'd arrived.

The name in question was Professor. It started out as Mad Professor but was cut back to just Professor after a while, presumably for fear of being deemed offensive to those suffering mental health problems. I'm just guessing there, I never asked the question.

Anyway, the name was given to me by a lad called Lee, the older brother of a girl called Aisha (spelling questionable), whose name I was never sure how to pronounce and it would wind her up something rotten; she insisted it was like Asia but with a 'sh' sound instead of 's', so Ashia. Which looks all wrong written down and doesn't really trip off the tongue when you speak it either. But that's by the by.

My mother became friends with Lee's mother when she moved into our street. For some reason that I never quite got to the bottom of, and wasn't really any of my business anyway, Lee and sis didn't live with their mother, or their father for that matter, but rather with their grandparents, and would only visit some weekends and school holidays, so it was a while before we met them and when we did, it was mostly Aisha?? that we had dealings with because Lee was a few years older than us, and therefore outside our circle.

Except when he was in the house when we were hanging out there, which was often because they had a NES, and were therefore cool as fuck.

Just Look At It. Pure Nostalgia

 If it was sunny, it was Wayne and Lisa's tents, if it was a rainy day it was Aisha's NES. That was the status quo for a long time.

I looked up to Lee in the same way the rest of them looked up to me; the poor, blind, ignorant fools; which is to say that because he was older he was automatically cooler. Except he reallywas, because while I had little choice in the matter; often being under strict instructions to 'look after' the younger ones; he could have ignored us totally if he'd wanted. Instead, he... tolerated us, I guess.

So why did Lee christen me Mad Professor? Well, it was a combination of 2 things; firstly, I wore glasses, and secondly, I insisted on reading the instruction booklet of a game, cover to cover, before I ever picked up a controller. A speccy who reads? What else was I going to be called?

The name never really caught on, to be honest, but it served the very useful purpose of supplanting Tut for long enough for people to get out of the habit of using it. Since then? I haven't ever really had a nickname. Oh, there has been the traditional 'stick a y on the end of his surname' but in my eyes, calling me Finchy isn't so much giving me a nickname as it is acknowledging that you can't be bothered to come up with one.

In recent years, a customer at my place of work has come up with the somewhat unique, Ewok. Because of my habit of going 6 months or more without a haircut, and therefore, on occasion being slightly hirsute, he thought it would be funny. and to be fair to him, it is. But where the true genius lies is in the fact that once again, just like with the Professor tag, it's actually a contraction of a longer name, which was; wait for it, you'll like this; Ewok, son of Bungle. Son of Bungle! How good is that? So obvious in hindsight, but who makes that connection? An Ewok. And Bungle. Genius.

That name hasn't really caught on either, and it's only that one guy who uses it. But still, what a fucking cool name. Ewok, Son of Bungle. You've gotta give the guy credit for that.

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