What’s in a name?

I have a few nicknames – Lo, Lawa, Wawa, Laura Lou, Cletus, L. And then there was the one I gave myself.

Oh. And there was the one time my youngest cousin Kaleb – who I know didn’t know my name at least the first 6 years of his life and may still not – called me Lortastic. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Really, though, since my name has only two syllables and is therefore pretty shortened anyway, it doesn’t lend itself to much nick-naming. On the opposite side of the spectrum, however, is my baby sister Samantha, who has a ridiculous amount of nicknames, including Sam, Sami, Sam-bo, Cheesebob, Cheesehead, Baby Einstein and Shankopotamus.

Though I can only take credit for one of the above nicknames for my little sister, I am normally more of a nickname giver than anything.

Take, for example, some of my best work – nicknaming a freshman saxophone player “Broken Arm Kid” when I was a senior in my high school band. Because, of course, he had a broken arm. Duh. However – and this is where the real awesomeness comes in – the nickname stuck, even after the cast came off. I’m pretty sure he hated it and I’m also pretty sure I don’t even remember his real name.

At a party a couple years ago in Richmond celebrating my cousin’s birthday with him and his friends, my sister, another cousin and I had nicknames for most of the people at the party. There was Marty McFly – because he had a very Back-to-the-Future-ish vest on so it only seemed right. And of course The Rabbi.

Oh and then there was that stretch last year where my friends and I did weekly karaoke at a restaurant over by my parents’ house. In addition to showcasing my awesome vocal talents and ability to harmonize with Chuckie and Liz, we also had to sit through this teenage boy’s rendition of “Faithfully” by Journey. It wasn’t bad and unfortunately he knew that. But according to Baby Einstein, the kid is a baseball player at her school and not a member of the choir. So. An athlete with a secret singing passion? We nicknamed him Troy Bolton. That’s from High School Musical, in case you don’t know or have an aversion to all things Zac Efron, in which case, maybe we shouldn’t be friends…

One of the characters, Sawyer, on one of my favorite shows, LOST, also had a nicknaming habit and rarely, if ever, called anyone by their real names. I’ve been called Sawyer a couple times, because I tend to do that – sometimes when I’m telling a story, sometimes when I’m somewhere I don’t know anyone and have no other choice and most often, just because. They’re usually pop culture references, like Sawyer’s, because that’s what I know – that and not much else.

Of course examples of most of those I can’t think of off the top of my head – except for if you drive too fast, want something done quicker than I can do it or you ran right past me, you’ll hear “Slow down, Speed Racer.” Have I ever watched that show? No. I wasn’t born yet. But it works.

So I’ll let Sawyer give you an idea of what it’s like to hang out with me, except for the whole I’m a girl and not stranded on an island thing.

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2 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. boomrethink says:

    Very clever. You are right, we do name things after pop culture. And one of the unspoken rules of “naming things” is that the most irritating name and the name that draws the most laughter from the crowd is the one that will “stick” the most.

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