I never had a nickname of any sort until high school was almost over. I was Jeff. Only Jeff. I am a fair-skinned, fair-haired (or was), blue-eyed, fair-temperamented person, not the type to stand out in much of anything except my intellect. And let’s face it, who makes up terms of endearment based on being the smartest one?
It was a fateful day at the video arcade (it had been the pinball arcade until just prior to this story—THAT is how old I am) when, after a game of Breakout in which I did exceedingly well, but not well enough to get to put my initials in the top spot, that I rolled and clicked my way into my first nickname: spinning the machine’s trackball wildly and randomly tapping out a staccato on the ‘Fire’ button, I entered ‘C U B’ instead of ‘J J B’. (Fate would play a cruel trick later when that name became associated with the bear community).
I still hear that nickname from some when I go back to Pennsylvania for a visit.
I acquired “Skippy”, then, when I was in charge of a biomedical research lab. A gleamingly handsome and very muscular surgical resident was spending the year in the lab with me, when I dismissively called him “Skippy”. His response, in a deeply timbrous voice: “If anyone in this room is Skippy, it’d be you. Skippy.”
Social structures being what they are in a gaggle of general surgery residents, it took no time at all for all of them (many of whom had already become good friends) to cement the name in place. Even my boss, one of the most gifted teachers and General Surgeon’s on the planet, came to call me that.
In the same timeframe, my bestest friend in Pittsburgh, Lisa, came through with yet another one: BEEF. Short for beefcake, in turn it was in response to me calling her “cupcake”. I was teasing her about her crush on a dermatologist. To this day, I am greeted in IMs and on the phone with “BEEF.” and she is forevermore my “CUP”.
Along the way, as a consequence of hanging out with friends of mine, who I still believe are the best live band that ever was, The Toll , gave me the name Verbose, a play on my last name. And also because I rarely spoke when I was in the company of the four of them—Brad, Rick, Greg and Brett. They thought I was being shy (yeah right), when really, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. This was all in the late 80s.
Fast-forward to the Pleasure Piggy . ‘Nuff said.
That was just a few months ago, and just a couple of weeks ago, Rich, who is the most laconic IM’er I have ever known, chimes in from outer space with “Peaches”. Dominic finds out, and broadcasts it. He’s better than the internet. Here’s Rich & me at the Fair:
Yesterday at Dore Alley, I was dressed like this:
Anyhow, I show up at the Dore Alley Fair and run into most of the gang, attempting a conserved comportment, a dominant deportment—y’know, just for kicks. Troy speaks up first, and says, “Hi, Peaches!”
And I’m thinking “Damn that Rich!”, even though I smile when he’s around:
Anyhow, I can’t just let Troy go unchallenged. I don’t want to be his enabler. So I reply, “That’s DADDY Peaches to you, bitch,” my eyes barely visible beneath the leather cap.
And he giggled!
No wait, that was me.
I told Marcy last night at the FUSION dance about the surge in sobriquets. His response? “No, no, no. It’s ALL about the piggy.”