Quite a lot actually!
Let me explain why this particular subject has come to mind.
I’ve been running a programme for one of Britain’s larger companies over the past couple of days. As always, we have to do introductions and because the groups were large I had set up an exercise and was going round the tables learning peoples’ names.
It’s an easy technique, but damned impressive!
I arrived at one table and asked for the names: Carole, yep, got it; Adam, easy, my son’s name; Clive… but you can call me Mickey.
Errr… why would that be then?
Apparently, because everybody does.
(Side note – I asked around the company and everyone knew Clive, but no-one could ever remember calling him Mickey before. He’s obviously just an hilarious chap.)
Anyway, this got me thinking about nicknames. And, it would seem that they split into two broad categories.
The first category really doesn’t require much imagination, being based on your existing name. For blokes, it usually (but not always) necessitates adding the letter ‘y’ on the end of any given name, as in: Boydy – Alastair Boyd whom I used to go to school with or Clarky for the Jamie Clarkson I play hockey with.
My own nickname is a variation on this highly imaginative theme: Lambo. I’m particularly proud of this name because it was my Dad’s nickname, too, and I hope to pass it on to my son when I’ve finished with it.
No, the second category is much more interesting: those names that relate to a physical attribute… like Barrels. I play hockey with Barrels and, in the normal run of events he’s a perfectly ordinary shaped bloke, except when he gets into a bit of dust up on the pitch.
As soon as trouble starts his arms take on a life of their own and he starts walking as though he’s carrying a barrel under each arm.
And then there’s Skids.
Imagination running wild?
Well, no need to worry… Skids was called Skids not because of a lack of self-control but because, when we played football together he used to fling himself into tackles and slide for miles across the pitch; hence, Skids for the marks he left behind.
But now I’m wondering if there’s a natural extension for the work place. It would be apt, sometimes, if the nickname Layzeegit was applied. Or maybe Miseryguts.
I really think I’m on to something here. You see no-one would want to get the nickname Layzeegit and so they wouldn’t be one. In one stroke we could get rid of all the bad management practices that infect our businesses.
The government could introduce a list of acceptable nicknames and parameters where their use is acceptable.
Ooops. I’d better go now, someone is asking for Grumpeesod.