Wednesday, September 10, 2014

in the nick of names

A group of guys I know are big on nicknames. Male nicknames are often half-needling and half-praising. (I can't claim to know a lot about female nicknames.) Of course, I'm known as Pawlie Kokonuts, though few if any of these guys I know tie my nickname to this blog. If they only knew. Nicknames are fraternal (or sororal) signifiers. They affirm identity and ranking. Think of mobsters, gang members, fraternities, sororities, clubs, teams, family members. Nicknames are also terms of endearment. Did Jesus have a nickname among his boyhood friends? Not "JC," because we know his last name was not Christ. Did Gandhi or Buddha or Marie Antoinette have nicknames? Chairman Mao? Joan of Arc? I'll stop with these unseemly speculations. In the nick of time.

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