What’s in a Nickname?

Today’s National Nickname Day!

(in case you’re like me and unable to keep up with the ENDLESS daily “National whatever thing we could think of” days and didn’t have this one written down.)

I will admit that one of the challenges of nicknames is that a real legit nickname is never one you get to pick out for yourself.  It’s usually bestowed upon you for one reason or another, hopefully by people who like you and not one given to you by folks who are simply taunting you (I’m talking to YOU middle school bullies).

Do you have a nickname?

I’ve had two legit ones I grew up with, but I’m sure there are others out there I don’t even know about… (which, let’s be honest, I probably don’t want to know about.)

The one that I loved the most, was BONES.

Fairly random, but to this day, if I hear someone say the word “bones” I definitely turn my head around to look.  Now, I’m not granting you permission to tease me with this because there’s only a few people allowed to call me that… so don’t get any ideas into your head ok?

Bones was the nickname my dad gave me growing up.  I honestly don’t even know how early he started calling me that, but I have a feeling it’s been with me since as close to the beginning as possible.  The genetics in my family seemed to dump a lot of the “beanpole” genes into my makeup.  I was off the growth chart at the doctor’s office from the start, and I swear to you that I’ve been my current height since kindergarten… 5’10.5” for the record. 

I’m taller than almost every supermodel, which may sound like something really cool, but I’m going to tell you that I constantly felt like that scene in “Deuce Bigelow” where he’s walking down the street with a tall date and she’s out of frame because she’s so tall and people yell things like “freak” to her.  For as horrible as that movie was, that scene spoke to me! J

So here I was this tall beanpole of a kid.  Not a lot of meat on my bones, or as one *wonderful* classmate in elementary school told me, I looked like a broom pole.

Can you tell that I grew up with (and let’s face it, I still have) self-esteem issues? 

Ah life… you’re a real hoot some times.

Anyway, I digress, my Bones nickname though was never anything that I took offense to, in fact, I loved it that my dad had a special nickname for me.  It made it seem like it was our family’s secret, and that if we were out somewhere and he needed to get my attention, it was a solid bet that no one else was going to turnaround when he called that.

When my little brother came along, dad ended up dubbing him Beans because my brother was non-stop into everything… like Mexican jumping beans was the original reference, although I used to tease him as he got older that it was because of some of the smells that emitted from him.  Ah sibling torture! 

I feel bad though because I still remember how I killed off my nickname, and all these years later, I feel horrible for taking that away from my dad.  It was middle school, and of course kids are so awesome to their parents constantly right?  There was a deal with my classmates and instinctively, my dad just called me Bones in front of them, and I WAS MORTIFIED!  I mean, here we are in middle school trying soooo badly to NOT be our true selves so that we can still fake our way into “fitting in” with the in crowd and being as vanilla as possible, and there went my dad inadvertently giving all those horrifically mean vultures a heaping pile of fresh meat of my vulnerability. 

After that, I told my dad that I NEVER wanted to be called that again in public or anywhere for that matter, but you know what, thank god we gain wisdom as we get older.

I’ve realized that I miss it.

Instead, whenever he calls or I see him in person I’m greeted with a “hey kiddo” and as sweet as that is, it’s just not the same. 

It’s funny the things you randomly long for from your childhood, and my dad shouting out a “hey Bones, get over here” or reading it on a note around the house Is something I miss.  I guess you can say that I’m pretty reflective on life so far in my forties and I just wish that there was a chance to tell your young self to appreciate the seemingly silly moments a little more than we did.  Here we were all wishing to grow up faster, when really I’d love nothing more than to get the chance to be a kid for just one day to soak in all those moments that seem to be wasted on us in our youth. 

This year on one of the cards I sent to my dad, I signed it “love, Bones.”

I’m not sure if he really caught on to its resurgence or not, but I’m going to try and sneak it back into texts and cards whenever I have the chance in order to show him that I was a clueless kid who threw away a nickname for stupid reasons.

If you still have a nickname (one that you like), I hope you celebrate the fact that everyone has some boring name on their driver’s license, but not everyone is given a nickname so celebrate your uniqueness!



Me circa 1990 I think in my dance recital gear

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