Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Donger and Mudguts

My cyber-sister Baino was recently ruminating on the Aussie predilection to shorten everyone's birth-given name to a nickname.

If its not been given the big "O" treatment - Thommo, Deano, Baino, Robbo, Daddyo; it's the "Ee" ending - Ready, Barnsey, Millsy; or the US-influenced "Ster" finale - Rodster, Jillarooster or Kenster.

More creative nicknames have been introduced - 'Bluey' for red-haired blokes or the more modern 'Fanta pants'; 'Sticks' for a tall guy I used to pick apricots with; 'Mudguts' for another picker who was wider than he was tall and loved to sleep under his ute at lunchtimes; and 'Donger' for a young guy who..... well, I wasn't interested enough to find out.

Naturally, it sent my own mind a-musin' on some of the names I've been called over time. No, I don't mean those that have been yelled out at me from passing P-plated cars, fellow drivers or personal enemies; but those given to me in the normal course of life.

I was a chubby-faced baby, so my folks called me 'Bubbles' after an SANFL player who had the same feature. This 'endearment' still sometimes slips out of my mother's mouth at inopportune moments. One was when Love Chunks still just 'the boyfriend' and thus still on his bestest most polite behaviour with my parents and sleeping over in the boys' room when we visited their place. Mum slipped back in time over a decade and whispered to me, "Goodnight Bubblees."

Desecrating my rather nice full first name - Katherine to Kath-urine - thanks to little bro dave. There's not much I can do with 'David' in return, is there, so I just tended to call him a turkey. Dad's always fond of reminding me of the time when I was eighteen, and home from uni for the weekend. All he overheard was me saying to Dave, "Look, I've only been home for five minutes and I'm already sick of the sight of you, you turkey."

Bauble - this one I hated, really hated. This one was thanks to my bigger - and therefore stronger, cleverer and more evil - brother Robert, who likened the end of my nose to Rudolph's. He was right - it looked as though the creator had stuck a ping pong ball on the end of my schnozz and painted it a pale pink colour. At eight years old however, the moniker made me cry and I didn't yet have the mental capacity (or the physical speed to escape the inevitable dead leg punishment he would have dealt out) to call him 'Rob the Knob' in return or to make a joke of it before anyone else did.

Cackles - earned from my Dad, during my teenage years. Like most girls, I seemed to have spent all of 1982 through to 1986 laughing, snorting or giggling. Usually at someone else's expense. Sometimes 'Cackles' was shortened to the less-than-cute 'Cack' by Dad or any other member of the family whenever it suited. "Cack, where did you put the keys to the volvo?" or "Ca-a-a-a-a-ck, it's your turn to weed the gardens today."

With 'Read' as my surname, I got 'Katherine reads by the river' or 'Katherine is a reed by the river' for most of primary school. 'Read' was also a source of hilarity for my students in the brief time I was teaching high school English until Mark Chopper Read's infamy spread beyond those he, ahem, disposed of. Then it was 'Chopper' from then on. And no, he's no relation. That I know of.....

During one confusing week whilst employed as a 'Graduate Trainee' at the ANZ bank, I received three bunches of flowers delivered at work plus a visit from an interested suitor from the university across the road. This was the only time of my life that it seemed to pour men - normally they were few and far on the horizon. Despite this - and settling, eventually, for none of them - I was called 'Stud' for the remainder of my time at the bank. I still blush just writing about it.

Finally, when I got married to my super special squeeze Love Chunks, my surname changed to 'Lockett', so I went from being called 'Chopper' to 'Plugger'. Just as feminine and as flattering. *sigh*


franzy said...

Franzy - Always and forever. From year eight dorkus malorkus to married gentleman.

Some of the boys from hockey were around during my brief period of female rain and tried to get "Shit" into the blocabulary (bloke local vocabulary) - as in girls were hanging around like flies on shit - but thankfully it never took hold.

River said...

Are you sure Chopper is no relation? Check out the nose...
As a very small girl my dad called me Flossie-few-clothes, often being shortened to Flossie. This name was gone before I started school and all through primary school my full name was used, then in high school it was shortened to the name I now use. I didn't like it at the time and for many years after, but I feel I'm sort of growing into it now.
My sister's name rhymed with butter, gutter so you can imagine the teasing she got. My brother's name was deemed unpronouncable and he became and remains Ralph.

Naomi said...

Funny - only Down Under would Naomi be shortened - some call me Na, others like small children who can't pronounce it all me ome or nome.....

On the Chopper - funny story - one of my work mates has a friend where the wife wanted a small fluffy cute dog (kind of like those seen as fashion accessories carried in the hand bag)...hubby agreed on one condition - yep it had to be named Chopper - so running around our state is a small fluffy white dog called Chopper lol

gigglewick said...

I have never really had a nickname, except for a shortening of my actual name.

I think it's one of my major failings as an Australian.

Deep Kick Girl said...

You could do a lot worse than to be nicknamed after a living legend. Sing with me now... "There's only one Tony Lockett... ooooonnnne Tony Locket...."