When I was a kid, one of my favorite stories was The City Mouse and Country Mouse. If memory serves me correctly, the two mice were cousins, and they went to visit each other. Both were surprised and uncomfortable with the different environments they visited.
Kim was my best friend from kindergarten through sixth grade until different schools caused us to grow apart, but we were kind of like those city and country mice. I lived in the country; so when Kim came to my house, we would go sledding in the winter, and we would go traipsing through the woods and fields in the other months.
Kim lived in a much more urban setting, and when I would go to her house, we would ride bikes with the neighborhood hooligans. One time the little boys tried to throw dead rats on us. I remember standing on opposite sides of the street in the rat standoff. I don’t remember what was being said, but Kim and I had changed our minds about something. Somewhere I had read a phrase that caught my attention, and I decided this was the perfect time to use it, so I told them that we were “exercising our feminine prerogative.“ Not a soul there knew what I had just said – more than likely, myself included.
What resulted that day was a brand new nickname for me: “Encyclopedia Word User.“ Yes, it was quite catchy, but I had earned it, and I was OK with it.
Nicknames should be descriptive and fun at best. Or they could simply be a shortened form of your actual name. My daughter Madison is called Madi because it is short for her full name, but when she was little I called her Sparky because she was like a little spark plug, always crackling with energy.
One day recently Paul and I were talking about monikers, and he made the statement that women are too sensitive to handle the type of names that men give each other. The fact that he was saying women could not handle something men could handle, of course, set me off. I could feel a debate coming. I was ready.
My feminist side argued vehemently that women most certainly could handle it. And so a battle of the nicknames began. They couldn’t be that bad I argued: Magic, Air Jordan, the Great One, the Admiral, the Assassin, the Sultan of Swing, Broadway Joe. These are great names. I was proving my point that anyone, male or female, would be happy with those nicknames.
Paul countered with the rather large NFL Jets player who earned the nickname Snacks. What about Big Baby, Refrigerator Perry? Ok, I had to admit, these weren’t the kindest of names. But Paul wasn’t done. Celtics basketball player Larry Bird was called the Hick from French Lick. What about being called Double Ugly? And finally Paul ended with Mr. Irrelevant – the title that goes to the last man picked in the NFL draft.
Paul asked me how I would handle one of my friends calling me any of the previous names, but especially something like Double Ugly?
Needless to say I waved the white flag of surrender on this one issue. Miss Encyclopedia Word User was out of words.