Friday, January 18, 2008


Do you have little "pet" nicknames for your kids, your significant other or maybe close friends?
If so, is there a specific story behind those terms of endearment you may bestow on those people from time to time?

My kids have various names for me - right now, offhand, I can't remember any in particular but I' sure they have some that they reserve for when they are talking to each other that identify me, in particular. Anything to do with being parked at the computer almost all of the time probably is one of them or others that aren't near as nice when they are especially peeved with me from time to time too.

My older daughter doesn't really have any bad nicknames that we call her - mainly we tend to reference her tendency towards tardiness, usually in a very sarcastic tone of voice too, if we're in a mood or frame of mind about her. Younger daughter at times gets called "Francesca" mainly if she is on her high horse about something or other, being a bit on the obstinate and obnoxious side and that name comes from her actions then often being very much like her Dad's whose name is Frank - so okay, she gets the feminine form of Frank then.

My son though is the one who carries the most baggage with him when it comes to nicknames, and well-deserved they are too, I must add.

What would you call someone who decides to practice his broad jump by climbing on top of an old refrigerator that was conveniently parked halfway under the deck of the house (for safekeeping till you could get it hauled off to the junkyard) and then jumps off the refrigerator onto the yard below promptly breaking his wrist? That stunt, along with several others he has done over the years often got him called names like "Simple Simon" for openers and frequently the younger sister and I refer to him behind his back as well as on the phone or face-to-face too as "nummies" or "numbnuts." I didn't say we were always nice about these names, did I?

He came close to having his sister "rip him a new one" the night he took her car for a little spin when he was only about 15-years-old or the time he was leaning against the hood of her car, chatting with some of his buddies and in the process, broke the hood ornament off completely on her precious Monte Carlo. He was so afraid of what his sister would do to him if/when she discovered the hood ornament was broken, he tried to scotch tape it back in place. That worked for roughly two miles after she left the house that evening on her way to work and she picked up speed. The higher rate of speed -and of course the velocity going against the taped ornament made it gradually start to bend forward and caused her to slow down to a complete stop to see what the heck was wrong. She was not a happy camper that night when she came into the restaurant, hood ornament in her hand and plunked it down in my hand, exclaiming to me "There, see what that 'blankety-blank-blank-blank" son of yours has done to me now!"

Since my nephew when he was a youngun had a bit of fascination for matches - loved to set fires out in the wooded area behind his parents home - and my son, in his infinite wisdom managed to catch the upstairs of this house on fire by flicking ashes off a cigarette into a soda can but he missed the can, hit the bed but didn't realize it till the flames were licking up the walls and curtains of his bedroom - so we have at times referred to my son as the "firestarter" or "arsonist" from time to time too.

But all these little names were pretty much just family nicknames - not a name by which many in the village also would come to call him - other than Clate, that is. But when he was about 12 years old, a neighbor of ours up the street managed to get him a nickname that has stuck for over 20 years now mainly with the guys who are the regular patrons at the local pub and his friends.

The story goes like this. This particular neighbor was a bit of a heavy drinker and could also be a little touchy from time to time - tempermental, you could say. But he was also a sportsman - loved the woods, loved to hunt and fish. And, having lost his Dad when he was just a kid, he felt bad that my son had to contend with three females around him all the time, didn't have a male figure to look up to or to teach him some of the finer points that all guys growing up in central Pennsylvania's mountains should know - like hunting and fishing.

So, when Clate was around twelve years old, the neighbor asked if it would be alright with me, would Clate like to go fishing with him maybe at this one particular mountain stream here known for having an abundance of trout swimming around in it. He told the boy if he had a fishing rod and if it was ok with me, he'd take him with him fishing. All the kid had to do was show up at the neighbor's house about 7 in the morning on this particular Saturday and off they'd go. He also told the kid he didn't need to worry about bringing any food either because his mother would pack them a good big lunch to take with them.

Now, I suppose some of my other neighbors may have questioned my judgment initially because I had said that Clate could go with him -because this neighbor's reputation was something else - he frequently overindulged in the alcoholic beverages, also was known to deal a little with pot and maybe even some other substances too and he had a track record for automobile accidents as well that would set him well on the road to being considered perhaps a driver in training to be a stunt man for Evel Knievel at times. But, I knew he knew his stuff when it came to fishing, to the woods, to the area around that particular stream and also, that the neighbor really meant well in this venture too. So that's why I had consented to allow the kid this little fishing trip.

The morning of the fishing expedition, the neighbor told it that he was out by his pickup truck, loading stuff in it and here comes my son, strolling up the road, looking a bit like Tom Sawyer, with his fishing pole slung over his shoulder, ya know. And in addition to that, he was carrying one of those little red and white thermal containers - you know what kind I mean I'm sure. The top slid back and you could easily carry I think at least a six pack of sodas or whatever in there.

The neighbor admonished the kid that he'd told him he didn't have to bring any food and Clate said he wasn't bringing any food in that container. So, the neighbor asked what he had in there then and Clate said "Water. Got to have something to put the fish in don't we?"

They did go down to the stream that day - don't believe they caught anything though or at least I don't remember that they did but it was not a long day of fishing - rather short actually because the neighbor guy could barely contain himself till he could get back home and up to the bar as soon as it opened to tell this story to all his compadres there at the pub how my son had gone fishing with him and brought along a cooler of water to put the fish in after they had a successful catch.

The neighbor said the look on Clate's face when he reminded him "what do you think the fish are in that we'll be catching them out of any way if not water?" was absolutely priceless.

And since then - probably too for all time - in this village there are still many of the men in town who either refer to my son as "Tapwater" or "Tappie" -many even to his face.

And, one of his best buddies in town still frequently gets called "Cupcake" too - or "Cuppie" for short but I don't know the full story behind his nickname.

Here's a picture of my "favorite son" who really is a sweetheart - most of the time.

And this is what Clate will probably give me after he finds out I put this post up here about him and especially about his nickname!

But, he's still a good kid, ya know!


Debo Blue said...

Tell Tappie he's pointing with the wrong finger, will ya?

Ha! Ha!

Meloncutter said...

I nicknamed my weiner...."minimeat". Does that count as a pet name?

Later Y'all.

Keith said...

I'm loving the one finger salute. I feel that way driving the freeways of Phoenix sometimes. I like to call the freeways around here the smoggy conveyor belt.

dr sardonicus said...

A fine fella he is, Jeni. Is he telling you he can turn the tap on with just one finger?

Dottie said...

LOL! For some reason reading this made me thinking of Andy Griffith and the Fishin Hole! Too funny!