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Friday, October 4, 2013


My first name is Joseph.  My parents decided to call me Joe, short for Joseph.  Actually they called me Jody, but I put the Kybosh on that when I was five and saw “Old Yeller.”  The little girl in “Old Yeller” was called Jody.


Joe, short for Joseph, makes sense.

Everyone called my mother Peg, or Peggy.  I was told numerous times, “So your mom’s first name is Margret.”

“No her first name was Mary.”

“But Peg is short for Margaret, not Mary.”

How on God’s green earth is Peg short for either Margaret, or Mary?

This has always bothered me.  Seems I bother easy.

How is Jim short for James?  Should be Jay, or Jame.  What about Bob?  Short for Robert?  No, Rob is short for Robert. Bob is short for Bobert; do you know anyone named Bobert? 

Jack?  Jack is short for John.  Seems to me both are four letters. Jack should just be Jack.  If your last name is Johnson, somewhere along the line you had an ancestor named John.  If your last name is Jackson, might you somehow be related to Johnson?

Glen is short for Glenn.  WTH, just drop one friggin “n” in the first place.

My favorite Aunt was Aunt Nancy…don’t tell any of my other Aunts.  It was a close finish…anyway; my favorite Aunt was Aunt Nancy.  It was not until her funeral that I learned her real first name was Eleanor.

Is Nancy short for Eleanor?

It turns out my Grandmother was an Eleanor.  Her mother demanded that Aunt Nancy, the first daughter, also be named Eleanor.  Grandma relented,

“I will name her Eleanor, but I am calling her Nancy!”

My cousin Nelson, son of Nancy, short for Eleanor, was called Neils.  He didn’t like Neils and opted for Neil.  He didn’t like Neil so he changed it to Nels.  By the time I got used to Nels he changed it to Niles.  When I called him Niles he told me his name was Nils.  You may see him comment on this blog from time to time. 

He comments as Nelson.

How is Chuck short for Charles?  Dick short for Richard?  Betty short for Elizabeth?  Hank short for Henry?  How is Peg short for Margaret; for that matter, how is Meg short for Margaret? 

My friend Gil, short for Gilbert, is called Buddy.  Seems his mother looked at her little baby and could not bring herself to call him Gilbert.  Buddy is long for Bud, which it seems is short for any first name that people do not like, or do not know… “Hey Buddy” could work for any stranger.

Bill is short for William.  How does that happen?  Baby brother had a speech impediment?

Why do we even have “short for’s” anyway?  If you’re going to call him Jim, just name him Jim. 

It should be simple, but then Cranky is short for Joseph.







  1. I have never been called by my real first name, but if I did I would probably be called Dot for short. Yikes!
    I live with a man who is called, DK, Del, Nick, Doc, Kent or Kenny, depending on what part of his life people know him from.
    You are right, it should be simple, but it rarely is.

  2. Well, here's one for ya.
    Do to some sort of "numerology" crap, one of my older brothers changed his name from John, to Jonns. I still call him John. Then the next step was to add an "anus" on the end of our last name. Well, it was only 'nnes' but it kind of reminded me of anus, so that was my first thought.
    Apparently, changing the spelling of your name is supposed to do wonders for you. Right.

    The only part that I wonder about, is what the hell he's doing living in some shit hole in Buttfuck, Nova Scotia.
    Don't misunderstand now. I'm FROM Nova Scotia. It's lovely. Really. But where and how he is "living" (if you want to call it that) is fit for neither man nor beast.
    Think, "Deliverance".

    "A lifetime of bad decisions" according to another brother.
    But that name change sure did wonders!

  3. Interesting points you make here.

    I have a friend, Dude Turner. I once asked him what is real name was, and he said Dude. I asked, "So your parents looked at their tiny little newborn baby boy and decided to name you Dude?" Yep. (Obviously rednecks of the highest caste.)

    I've taken nicknames to a new level of simplicity. Scott = S. :)


  4. I've never thought about the origins of nicknames before. I'm Sandra but I go by Sandie which I've spelled every way possible. Sandra is just way too formal for me. However my family always called me Nan. Guess that's a whole lot better than a lot of things I could have been called.

  5. In the South, for some mysterious reason, most people are called by their middle names. (On the other hand, when I was a kid, the only time MY middle name was used was when I was in deep serious doo doo.)

    One of my granddaughters is named Persephone, a name that screams out for a shorter form. Sometimes, her parents call her "Sephie", but for the most part, everyone calls her by the full name.

    One of our former neighbors had a sister whose honest-to-God given name was Booby. Really. Talk about parental abuse...

  6. Guilty as charged. We gave our son a longish name, then immediately began calling him by the short version.

    So we gave our daughters names that we were sure could not be shortened. We were wrong, their friends managed to shorten them.

    No matter what your parents name you, somebody will come up with something shorter.

    Especially if you were in the military!

  7. "Especially if you were in the military."

    ...and many of those, when totally explained, are at least NC17 if not X rated.

  8. I prefer Cranky to Joseph anyway.

  9. The grandfather's line from "Moonstruck" comes to mind: "I'm so confused--somebody tell a joke!"

  10. in texas, it is extremely common for folks to go by their middle names and ignore their first names except for legal documents. gets crazy...

  11. I had a friend long ago named Bruce. He said his father gave every child a one syllable name and no middle names. Nothing to be changed or shortened. How boring.

  12. We have a son named Anthony and we call him Tony...which is I guess should be "Thony" if you were truly shortening it -- but the "Tony" comes from the Spanish version of the name, which is Antonio. Then we have a son named A.J. and he was named A.J. FIRST and then when he was born I had to think of names to go with those initials, you know, in case he grew up to be a Supreme Court judge instead of a baseball player. So we named him Adam John but we NEVER call him Adam. Never. Never ever. Then we have a son named Alex. Just Alex, not Alexander. Because I don't like the name Alexander. But I love the name Alex! Then we have a daughter named Audriana. I wanted to name her Audrey, but my husband vetoes that name claiming that it sounded to "old womanish" which I think is crazy, but whatever. So I agreed to make the name longer by adding the "ana" to the end, and I secretly thought, "ah ha! I've still got the name Audrey in there, and I can always shorten Audriana to Audrey later on.....he he I outsmarted him.. he he he" but you know what? It never happened. She's 20 now and I have never, ever called her Audrey and neither does anyone else. She's Audriana - all three syllables always said. She has no nic-name. Then I have an Aislynn and we call her that or we call her "Ace" and we have an Andrew but we never call him Andy. I refuse to call him Andy. No one calls him Andy, not even friends or relatives. And I won't bother listing all my other kids because then this comment will be too long. I don't want to bogart your comment section!

  13. My wife's name is Janet but everyone calls her Sue. I'm told it's a southern thing but it's always seemed nuts to me. My name is Stephen and that's what I go by, unless someone shouts out Chubby Chatterbox.

  14. Then there's the boxer, George Edward Foreman, who named all five of his sons George Edward Foreman.

    But his grill is just George Foreman.

  15. A hilarious posts where the comments are just as much fun.

    Katrina needs a bit of a nudge... she got stuck on the first letter of the alphabet and never moved on. ;)

    My older son is Jeffrey.. and I have always resisted calling him Jeff though he'll often refer to himself as such. My younger one is Alexander and he has almost always just been Alex to me. NEVER Al.

    My own name gets shortened to Hil which I'm mostly okay with but my back goes up with Hilly. (shudder)

    And more along the lines of what you've so beautifully illustrated here, my significant other was born Francis but has always been known as Frank. My brother in law who has always been called Bill is really named Gerald. My mother who was Lillian often got Lilly but to family she was Lakey. Go figure. Dad was also a Joe(seph) by the way.

  16. In my mother's family people had a habit of using their middle names instead of their first ones. My grandfather was called Joe, but his name was Thomas. My uncle is called Henry, but his name is really Earnest. Names are weird things.

  17. It's all those damned olde Englishe names that are the cause of all the trouble. How is Harry short for Henry, Jack short for John, etc??
    My mother and aunt decided to keep things simple with their kids' names. My cousin was called 'Tony' and it's not short for Anthony - but all his life he's had to explain that his name is just Tony not short for Anthony. They also didn't give us middle names. Nice and simple. But we all wished we had middle names when we were kids, and then you spend all your life explaining how/why you don't have a middle name. So simple!
    My husband is Greek and they don't have middle names there, and their names are pretty simple because the convention is to name your kids after your parents first then other relatives; so in families all the cousins have the same names.
    The English "translations" of names can be weird too. My MIL is Athanasia, which is apparently Nancy. I always wondered what Nancy was "short for" in English - would never have guessed Eleanor. Nice name either way.

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  19. I have always preferred Jim and would much rather that it had been that instead of James.

    The one I've never understood is how "Ted" can be short for "Edward". For "Theodore", maybe, but "Edward"? WTF?

  20. For once I agree with you!
    I don't like shortened abbreviations for names if they are NOTHING like the full name!

    All my daughters get called by their full names. My sons ... well two of them got shortened to Steve and Mike, but Russell is still Russell.

    My parents named me Christina, but called me Christine, which drives me nuts. Everyone else calls me Chris, which I prefer. Or snappa. Hubby calls me snappa... cos I kinda snap fairly often.

    Bit like you being called Cranky! ha ha ha