My family has a habit of picking up on potential nicknames and making them stick. Sometimes, these nicknames make sense. Take Brad for instance. When he was little, my sister started calling him “B.J.” It stuck. As my family continued to use this little nickname, it eventually morphed into “Beej.” One of my daycare kids asked why my dad always called Brad “Peach.” (Just an episode of creative hearing there.) Sometimes he was “Beej-a-roni.”
My brothers have a tendency to latch on to all things weird. Don’t even ask me how or why, but for a while there, poor Jake was referred to as “Steakum Tator Tot.” I’m sure it thrills him to death that he still gets called “Jakey.” Kacey spent a fair amount of time answering to “Kace-Eraser,” then later (and still on occasion,) “Kay Dice.” My little niece, Hannah will never be allowed to forget her Scooby Doo phase and the time she asked everyone to call her “Daphne.” We still call her that even though the phase has passed. Also, of course, “Hannah Banana.” I may have mentioned before how my niece, Lauren was called, “Noreen,” “Lauren DeBecca Luda,” and eventually, “Deluda.” (I know. I told you my family is strange. And family? I say that with the utmost of love and sincerity.)
The kids caught on quickly to the name game and at one time or another were calling their uncles, “Uncle Elephant” (because of his ability to make a realistic elephant noise) and “Hymay.” (I really have no idea where that came from.) Uncle Jim is now stuck with the term of endearment, “Unk.” I was christened, and still remain, “Dewey.”
The renaming is not limited to family though. My brother’s friends, whom my boys have camped and fished with, are not allowed to be called by their real names either. Keith is “Beepers.” Don is “Don the Bod.” (It is precisely because of Don’s lack of body fat that he is called this.) However, these nicknames came along well before my kids. My kids simply can’t resist latching on to them.
Our own friends get renamed as well. Mark’s buddies (The Man Friends) are “Willie” (Bill, whom no one ever referred to as Willie before) and Paul is “Paulie” or “Paulie Balls.” (His wife let that previously attained name slip and it has nothing to do with what you might be thinking.)
There may be a genetic predisposition to the name mangling game. When I was young, my dad’s siblings, my aunt and uncle were still merely young adults. My aunt convinced us to call my uncle, “Creep.” He was a good sport about it even though the not-so-flattering name hung on for YEARS!