Lance Boyle

February 8, 2007 at 11:26 pm | Posted in cool names, football, nicknames | 19 Comments

Went back to playing football tonight after a six-month hiatus – I haven’t played since before Jack was born. The standard’s not high, but we’d probably have given San Marino a better run than Ireland did last night.

Loads of the lads have nicknames. There’s Bewsie, because his surname is Bews. Dougie, because his name is Doug. Kenwood, because his name is Kenneth, and he plays like a food processor, blending skill, strategy and tactics as skilfully as his namesake blends flour, eggs and butter. There’s Paul T, and we call him that because his surname starts with a T. There’s Michael, whose nickname is Mike, and Uno, because his name is Ewan*.

I’m jealous, having never had a nickname that stuck.

When I first started secondary school, I had one of those coats that most kids had at the time – they came in either green or navy, and were made from a kind of plasticky material, with a shiny orange lining, and a hood lined with furry stuff. Probably fur. Dog fur, I’d wager – it was right around the time they had that enormous dog cull in Ireland and slaughtered all the strays.

Anyway, mine was green, and, being the pragmatic gentleman that he was, my dad bought it three sizes too big for me, so that I’d get a good wear out of it. I remember him grinning wickedly as he declared “Ara sure you’ll grow into it. You’ll shoot up any day now”.

Almost as soon as I walked in the gates of the school, hood up as I braved the elements (the elements generally being rain – this is Galway after all, where if rain was currency we’d all be millionaires, which would lead to a massive socioeconomic disparity and a loaf of bread would end up costing you a million litres of wawther and hopefully this would lead to the eventual collapse of the Irish economy and then I might finally be able to afford a house back home), I was labelled Oscar the Grouch. Remember him? The lad who lived in the bin in Sesame Street? He was green and furry, geddit?

I hated it, but then I ended up really missing it when I got a wax jacket – the choice was a wax jacket or an Air Jordan jacket, and I wasn’t allowed to get the Jordan, so really it was no choice at all, and of course the wax jacket rendered me apocalyptically uncool so I was pissed off about that as well – and the Oscar label was forgotten. Being called something other than your name implies that you’re one of the lads, that you’ve achieved a status with your mates beyond the norm**. Wearing my wax jacket made me sad and wistful instead of relieved.

I can’t wink. Big fucking deal. This earned me, briefly, the nickname Winky. Again, it never stuck, though it provided the guys and gals at college with several months of hilarity. “Go on Kav, try and wink!” Cue various facial spasms and twitches (imagine trying to keep a wasp in your mouth and you aren’t allow to squish him, you just have to let him buzz around in there – that’s the kind of face I pull when I try to wink) and everyone dissolving into peals of laughter.

When you have a girlfriend, women like you more. I don’t know why this is. Does anyone? My last year at university, some of the girls took to calling me Spiky Mikey. I had spiky hair, you see, and my name –

Tricky to figure that one out, eh. Just like Winky, and Oscar before him, Spiky Mikey died when I left the hallowed halls of UCG, or NUIG as it became known in my time there. Nuiggers, the students are called. I still prefer to call it UCG. Great days.

The non-nickname saga continues. For a while, I had convinced Linzi to call me The Throbmaster, but even that’s fallen by the wayside. We’ve been together almost 8 years, so it’s understandable.

You’re either a person who gets called by a nickname, or you’re not. It’s to my eternal regret that I’m not, but a leper can’t stop his loose, saggy flesh from falling off his bones, any more than a person who doesn’t have a nickname can just decide to bestow one upon himself.

Which is where a name change by deed poll comes in. Just like Homer Simpson changing his name to Max Power (he got it from a hairdryer), I imagine I will be infinitely more successful when I am called Jack Hammer, Neil Down, Randy Bastard or perhaps Tommy Jeans.

*come to think of it, most of the lads’ nicknames are kind of shit.

**it’s true – even being called something derogatory is a term of endearment.



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  1. Was that not the coat you were wearing in the last post’s pics? See now, you did grow into it! Kinda. Mmmm, wax.

    I was called Goldie. Because I have the memory of a goldfish. Now, first of all, if I had a poor memory I wouldn’t be able to remember why I was called Goldie, or indeed that I was called Goldie at all. Secondly, I have two goldfish, and they DO have memories – bitter, misrepresented ones. Thirdly, I have a really fabulous memory. Just ask me husband. Anything he’s ever confessed when drunk goes into a database of such capacity that it’s never forgotten. AHAHAHAHAHA!

  2. It most certainly was not. That coat was bought from Dave Versace’s shop on one of my frequent weekends away to Milan, Paris and the like.

    OMG, I have two goldfish too. We have so much in common.

    I’m jealous. Goldie is a cool nickname.

  3. I’ve had the same nickname for 17 years now. Don’t really like it. Do you want to buy it?

  4. I never had a nickname, either. It’s funny, as I had a Muppets lunchbox in grade school, and my mother wrote my name on the banana sticking out of Fozzie’s ear (thank god for childhood innocence, or I would have been traumatized for life). For a while I was called Fozzie. I had a boyfriend who called me Sugarbritches. That made me laugh.

  5. The guy that rides in the helicopter and does the police chase coverage for the news out here is called Johnny McCool.

    I went to school with people nicknamed things like Turdo, Dippan, Ali Balls, Meppan, Cudabin (as in Coulda Bin So Beautiful), Droopy, Kenny Flowerpot and Grant Poofter et al. All in all I was quite happy to be just Sami/Sam.

  6. Yeah, I agree Kav, I have a nickname-ish type of thingy but don’t like it, it rhymes with Gazza. I feel unloved. And only a few people call me this name now and again. I’m depressed now, thanks a bunch…LOSER.

  7. I was known as “Chocks” in college. I had a newspaper column, “Chocks Clicks On” (I know – really Stooooopid name for a newspaper column, but then Chocks is a stupid name for a…um…person.

    I call Adrian “Iron Man” occasionally in public.

  8. When your first name’s already considered a girls name, nicknames just seem a waste of time, so I never had one either.

  9. I had many nicknames that didn’t stick too. In primary school, I was called the Count after the vampire in Sesame Street, and I never understood why. It’s not like I was purple and spoke with a Transylvanian accent.

    Nicknames are sort of pointless anyway.

  10. Isn’t Kav a nickname, Kav lad?

  11. I’m surprised Freak hasn’t stuck.

    I’m the opposite, Cindy is a nickname, but I’d rather go by my given name, Cynthia. However, I just can’t convince people to call me Cynthia even though it IS my real name. So I’m stuck with Cindy. Or Lou.

  12. Since I already have the real name of Summer, I can’t do much better. I can say that there was a cruel streak in middle school that kids would ask me if my middle name was Eve (‘Summer’s Eve). Or they would just sing it out from the monkey bars. Painful!

  13. Just been over the Irish Blog Awards site and the c***s haven’t included our Blunt Cogs entry.

    Some of your countrymen have no sense of humour.

  14. Kav, you’re through to the next round in the Irish Bloggies – well done, mate!

    Best Newcomer, and fatmammycat and Sweary are up for stuff too.

    Git on over, have a shiftie.

  15. I get called Staph. Like the infection. Nice innit?

  16. I went to school with a lad we called “chip butty” coz one day he brought in cold chip butty’s for his dinner and it stuck for life. Nicknames can be cruel. Then when I grew older, there was Captain Old Spice coz one Boxing Day he showed up in the pub reeking of Old Spice.
    Nicknames can be cruel. Fun, but cruel. Maybe you should suggest a few that you like so people can vote on the best.

  17. You’re either a person who gets called by a nickname, or you’re not.

    I am the ultimate bestower of nicknames. My skinny, big-headed younger brother (named Ryan) was alternately “RyRyFrenchFry,” and “GE” (his head was shaped like a light bulb). We threw in “Dumbo” for good measure, as he had big ears. Anytime we’d want to piss him off, we’d put our hands behind our ears and flap them at him.

    It’s the evolution of nicknames that amazes me. I grew up with a kid that lived across the street from us who was named “Angel” (that’s the Spanish pronunciation, AHN-hel). His dad was also named Angel, so he was “Junior” (with the Spanish pronunciation of (HOON-yer). That got shortened to “June” (like the month of June), and then it went to “Junicorn,” and then it was “Corn.” So for several years, as a teenager and adult, he actually answered to the name of “Corn.”

    See, “Kav” isn’t so bad now, is it?

    The only nickname I ever had was “Shrimp,” because I was so tiny. I was a foot shorter than everyone else in my class (people used to seriously inquire of my parents if I was a midget), and the nickname was used in a highly derogatory manner. I hated it.

    My daughter has a million nicknames. I don’t think I ever called her by her actual name until she was in Junior High. Most of the time, we still use one of her nicknames.

    Somewhere, deep down, I must subscribe to that cultural belief that a person should not be called by their actual name; that their real name should be hidden.

  18. Kav, The button to sponsor Linsey isn’t linking. Just to let you know.

  19. primal: Ah go on so. I’ll give you fiddy cent for it.

    sassy: Some people just take to them. I don’t know what it is.

    sami: Johnny McCool…what a name. And thanks for letting me know about the link – I’ve already been on to them once before about it, and now it’s broken again. Arses.

    flutt: Whatever…Mazza.

    jali: Iron Man is a pretty cool nickname. I also like Trent Steele.

    kim: That’s a fair point. Oh, and I don’t know why BC wasn’t added – see here.

    dario: Pointless, but cool.

    mairéad: Kav’s a nickname I gave myself, and therefore doesn’t count.

    cindy-lou: Among certain company, freak is the nickname of choice.

    summer: That’s not too bad though. Better than Frankie the Wankie the big fat Stankie.

    steph: Staphylococcus aureus…makes you sound so much sexier.

    eddie: chip butty, now that’s a fucking nickname! Class. Voting idea…maybe, but I’d rather get my nickname organically, through something stupid/hilarious I say or do.

    fat sparrow: Ah, the etymology of nicknamery, what a splendid pasttime. And I like that belief…I want that to happen to me!

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