7 August 2022

Nickname

I was a secondary school teacher for four decades. When I first arrived in South Yorkshire, I was teaching at a big comprehensive school on the edge of a large mining village. The pit was still working then - bringing up black diamonds from far below the earth's surface. I could see one of the great spoil or slag heaps from my classroom window.

In those days, I did not own a television so I was only dimly aware of  a popular new TV drama series that appeared in the late seventies. Like many shows, it concerned itself with crime and clever detective work. The main protagonist was a character called Eddie Shoestring played by an actor called Trevor Eve. In fact, the show was called "Shoestring". For two or three years it was pretty popular.

School teachers are often given nicknames by the student body and it was widely agreed that I looked like Trevor Eve . Consequently my nickname became Shoestring or sometimes Bootlace. There are far worse nicknames I could have had  and so I tolerated it quite happily. It was never a problem and besides it was better than being called Shrek, Dragon Breath  or Paedo - nicknames that I overheard in connection with other teachers in my career.

In the autumn of 1980, I moved on to a different secondary school - this time in Sheffield's southern suburbs. At last, I thought, I will leave my nickname behind me but within a week of my arrival I was once again re-christened Shoestring though never directly to my face.

Have you ever had to suffer a nickname - one you hated or perhaps, like me, one that you didn't really mind?

25 comments:

  1. I had forgotten about Shoestring. It must have screened here in 80s. I hated one nickname for me, I can't bring myself to repeat it.

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    1. Was it Andy Pandy? If you don't know of him, ask R. He'll know.

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  2. I have been called Bob, Bobby, Bob-oh, Bobo and Robert. Ia nswered to one as a child, and switched to another as I got older.

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    1. Given the political content of many of your blogposts I think that members and supporters of GOP might give you a different nickname such as "Target".

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  3. At school I wasn't aware of any nicknames but probably had some. A few other teachers jokingly called me Madge. In other circumstances, I've been Maggie, Mag, Marg, Margie (hard g), Magnet, Magpie and Maggie Mae. To Starbucks, I've been Morgrat, Margret, Magret, Magritte and one time, Barbara.

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    1. At least no one called you Margaret Thatcher! That would have been awful!

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    2. Gah, yes!! At least the other names have made me smile.

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  4. When I was in first grade I got called "Egghead" or sometimes "Peanut Head" because I had a rather large forehead. I'd definitely have preferred "Shoestring."

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    1. Don't worry, your nickname secrets are safe with me Peanut Head!

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  5. When I was small, a neighbor boy (mean Jimmy Witt) called me Ellen the Elephant and Ellen the Melon. For a while my Dad referred to me as Aunt Blabby (because I would blurt out things that were not supposed to be shared). Later, in high school I was called Ellie Poo. I was not fond of any of those nicknames!

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    1. Melon's not bad. Good job nobody though to prefix your name with "Sm".

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  6. The nickname that stuck to me - and has been adopted by me for use in email addresses and even on my blog - is Meks. My sister created it when we were maybe 5 and 6 years old. Neither of us can remember how she came to calling me Meks; maybe because it rhymes with Keks (cookie/biscuit in German) and I have always had a sweet tooth.
    I have (had) other nicknames; there is a current one from O.K. which is fine with me but something between just the two of us, so I won't repeat it here.

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    1. Now I am intrigued. What does the devilish OK call you in private? Mmmmm...!

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  7. As a schoolgirl I was often called Speccy Four Eyes. In my first job aged 17, I was called Liz by the office maintenance man (apparently he thought I looked like a young Elizabeth Taylor). I don't know what other nicknames I may have been given. Perhaps best not to know.

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    1. I have thought up a great nickname for you.... JayCee!

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  8. I never had any nicknames, none that I know about anyway.

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    1. Is River your real name? I thought that was your nickname - River of Babylon.

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    2. No it isn't my real name, that starts with E. "River" comes from a character I liked in a TV series.

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  9. I've never had a nickname as such, but sometimes my name was shortened to Caz! Much to my parents' horror as they had, after much deliberation over the name Caroline, given me a short name so that it couldn't be shortened further!
    Not likely to forget Shoestring - at the end of the programme there was Shoestring's phone number. The first few digits were the same as our phone number and every single time the credits rolled, our phone would ring!

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    1. Nice one Caz! Was your husband called Gaz...or maybe Daz?

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    2. No - he was Scottish so was always known as Mac!

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  10. The cohorts before me nicknamed our English teacher 'Festus' because his last name was only one letter different from Derriman. It kind of paired with 'Priscus', the Latin teacher. That school was so much more intellectual before my lot got there.

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    1. Of course Tasker Dunham is just a nickname. What is your real name by the way?

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  11. My wife's headmistress was known as 'Pig'.

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  12. There are nicknames and there are ugly things that fellow school children call others. I believe those are two separate things.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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