Monday, March 24, 2008

The Name Game

Names are dangerous things.

Everyone needs one, but yet most people don't get to choose their own. And if you're name smells even slightly funny to other kids, the odds are you suffered for it.

I've never minded my name too much because there aren't very many things that rhyme with Jeff, but I've watched other people endure a childhood of misery simply because of what their parents named them. For example, I don't think I ever knew a girl named Patty who wasn't called "fatty" even if she was as skinny as a stick.

Not fair? Absolutely. But kids are cruel and when you're a kid there are no rules.

But it doesn't even matter if your name rhymes or not, kids will still find a way to attach it to something. For example, I remember spending a few years in grade school having to listen to the neighborhood kids chanting Jeff and Beth are married! simply because our names both shared the short "e" sound. Brilliant!

And names can become attached to all kinds of nonsense - nursery rhymes, products, even popular songs are fair game. For an entire year my daughter's teacher belted into "Roseanna" (by Toto) every morning when she walked into the classroom (Rose-ann-a, Rose-ann-a). The worst part was, Roseanna had never even heard the stupid song before.

My favorite name association though was from a co-worker of 12 years ago. For some ridiculous reason he linked my name Jeffrey to the jingle for Zest soap. Only he could convert You're not fully clean until you're Zest-fully clean! into You're not furry lee until you're Jeff-furry Lee. I still laugh about it today.

So what about you? What tiresome name associations were you burdened with over life? What moronic nicknames did your "friends" come up with as a child? What life-scarring teasing were you subjected to as a result of how you were named?

Go ahead, I promise I won't tease you.

The funniest names in humor are at


JD at I Do Things said...

I had the misfortune of being named Julia during the awful days of Bobby Sherman's hit "Julie, Julie, Julie, do you LOVE me," which people sang at me endlessly, even tho my name is not and was not EVER Julie.


JD (the "J" is for "JULIA") at I Do Things

April said...

Ape or Apey. I'm all for Darwinism, but would rather not be the missing link.

Elizabeth said...

Ugh, take your pick. Lizard breath, Lizard lips, Lizardo, Lizzy Borden, and one kid in highschool would always call me Tin Lizzy, I think it was the name of a band or sone or something.

Anonymous said...

Back in 1956 when I was born, Ricky was a very popular name. There was Ricky Ricardo from "Lucy", and Ricky Nelson from "Ozzy and Harriette". And as everyone knows the nickname for
Ricky, Richard, or Rick is Dick. Which would be fine except for some unknown reason, in the late 1960's, just as I entered Junior High School, the word dick became a euphemism for penis. Much hilarity followed. Thanks alot Mom and Dad.

Anonymous said...

So true. We were so careful when choosing names for our kids but they still manage to find some way to make jokes.

I had the "picky nicky" problem.

There are worse things, right?

Nice post!
I love your blog (and added you to my blogroll).
Thanks for visiting my site on your bloghopping route!

Anonymous said...

Lois worked at school, and she told how children were victims because parents keep thinking of stupid names. Children spend their whole lives telling people how to spell their names, especially ethnic ones. My brother in law was named Laverne Carl FUNK, which he changed to Carl. He was a principal in White Bear and had a junk yard owner that did not send his children to school all the time. Carl said that man never got his last name right no matter how many times he corrected him.--Bill

MYM said...

I never got teased because of my name, Brenda. I guess it's kinda hard to rhyme something with that. But I was a chubby kid so I did get lots of nasty things thrown my way.

Catherine said...

My last name used to be Cotton. Need I say more.


Kathy said...

My maiden name starts with the letters M-E-S-S. You take it from there.

Anonymous said...

I was named for an uncle who didn't survive Normandy. The choice was all the more popular that year because it saw the birth of the current Prince of Wales. Unfortunately, it was also when the image of "Uncle Charley", the carefree (read "gay") bachelor, was current. Which means the choice was made over Mom's dead body.

In an attempt to minimize the damage, I was dubbed "Chuck". Which was fine. Until that damned Name Game song hit the charts ...

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

julia - Like I said, it doesn't matter, you're name was close enough. But I do wanna know... DO you love me?

april - Funny. I mean for us. I'm sure not for you.

elizabeth - Close... the band was called Thin Lizzy. So actually you could have taken that as a compliment.

rick - I like the name of your past Air Force commander... Richard Head. But since he was a Major he was also known as Major Dick Head. And yes, that IS a true story!

soapboxmom - Thanks for the add! Just curious... the boys didn't say you had "girl germs" and call you Icky Nicky? What kind of bizarre place did you live? ;-)

bill - I think Funk is an awesome last name, considering my music career. Can you imagine being able to legitimately call yourself "Mr. Funk?" That would be way cool. But I'm quite sure that family has other opinions. Steve?

drowsey monkey - Your friends didn't try hard enough either. I could have made fun of Brenda 10 different ways easy. ;-)

catherine - Yes, you do. Let's hear some examples.

kathy - You too. I demand examples!

amoeba - That's awesome. I love Wikipedia's example here: "Playing the game with names such as "Tucker," "Chuck," "Buck," "Mitch," "Art," "Bart," "Rich," "Richie," or "Maggie" results in profanity." Gee, you think?

Heather said...

Oh I had the standard "hey Heather, how's the weather?" Which was just soooo funny to me since I was already self-conscious about my height.

Then my "friends" started calling me heifer too. Even though I was a beanpole.

yoo hoo said...

My very first was Crawlaway, because my sister Gale couldn't say Carla Rae. Then there was Crayola, Carlotta, Car, Cars, Maude,Carmen, and my favorite is Honey.

Gen said...

LOL! Oh yes, we've all suffered, no matter what our names. My maiden name, unfortunately, was both attached to a product and a particularly unattractive cartoon character with a speech impediment. Good times!

Karl said...

Like you, having a short name precluded me from getting a lot of "name game" treatments. I still got my ass kicked routinely, though. And I continue having to spell my name for every freaking person on the planet.

Colin said...

Lol , I have written a post on Name Travails recently .Check it out

Unknown said...

My last name had a german au=ow. So it sounded like "cow" Hilarious, I guess.

Mrs. R said...

If you change the last letter in my first name to an "i," you have something that rhymes with "weinie."

You would think people would get sick of that after elementary school, but it lasted all the way through high school. Good times.

cathouse teri said...

Jeff-furry Lee!

I have never been one to be teased. I don't know why. Some people just get targeted. Even as adults. I've noticed that they just get teased mercilessly, even by friends. Why is this? Because they react so strongly? Could be.

At any rate, the best they could come up with for me was "Teri is a fairy!" Like... what girl would find it an insult to be called a fairy? *shrug*

People are dumb.

Mom Thumb said...

My maiden name was Castleberry, and my first husband was Horak. His brother commented once, when we were all squished together in the car, he next to me and me next to the door, that I was 'stuck between a Horak and a hard place.' Ha ha.

As for Richard, I will be doing a post soon about an infamous pirate whose name was Richard Noir. Extrapolate . . . well, you can read the post.

Ed said...

My mother suggested that my son Harrison take my grandfather's first name for his middle. That would have made him Harrison Richard. Shorten both of these and you quickly see that wasn't an option. Glad I'm smarter than that...

Impetua said...

My name is Debra.

It has the word "bra" in it, right there at the end. See that? Right there. You can't miss it.

You, and every pre-teen boy I ever went to school with. Yay for me!

Also, "Debra" is very much like "zebra", only with a "d" at the front instead of a "z." This passed for hilarity throughout elementary school. Until of course the advent of puberty when all the boys immediately lost their minds.

This is not why I am a lesbian, but it certainly didn't help your case much, fellas. :)

Windyridge said...

I spent many years in Ireland. I arrived at age 10 and left after I graduated college, so I was "The Yank" in high school, and they called me Looooooooor (for Loren or Lori)with what they thought was a heavy American (Texan/)accent. My maiden name is Milch so they called me Mush. Gee creative huh? But it was usually affectionate teasing so I never got to upset. There was a gal though whose last name was Garfinkle. We used to chant "One wrinkle of Garfinkle" on the bus. Go figure. We thought that was hilarious.

Julie Pippert said...

Dude. My name is JULIE. Enough said.

Not enough?

Bobby Sherman

OMS, look a Julia had to deal with that too! Oh, wow, I always thought an "a" would have solved my problems.

Well. Tall and thin.

If I never hear another basketball or weather up there comment I will die a happy woman...

JD at I Do Things said...


...I do!

JD at I Do Things

cathouse teri said...

What about, "I'm not Lisa... my name is Julie?"


Poor girls named Roxanne have to hear people try to emulate the raspy "Roooooooooxxxxxxanne! You don't have to put on your red light!"

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

heather - heather=heifer... hmmm. Well, some of the letters are similar so I suppose that makes perfect sense.

carla - I would have probably been the one calling you crayola. That sounds like my kind of humor. Where did Maude come from?

groovy mom - Damn, I'm not making the connection. Anyone else know who she's talking about?

karl - Believe it or not, I have to spell "Lee" every time I say it as well. Like there's SO many ways to spell it.

colin - Thanks. I enjoyed stopping by your blog. Keep up the good work!

gette - Hey, close enough for kids. What are you gonna do?

mrs r. - Where did you get the idea that high school students are more mature than elementary kids?

teri - Geez, I could have done better than that.... For instance, Teri is a scary hairy fairy named Larry. Duh.

mom thumb - Can't wait to read your "richard" post! Heh.

ve - Woah... that would have been a train wreck. Good save VE.

impetua - Too funny. (heh heh... she said bra... huh huh)

windyridge - Comedy gold there for sure.

julie - I was so skinny you could see my skeletal structure. I was called "Bones" way before Dr. McCoy was ever around.

julia - Awww :-)

teri - But how could you NOT sing that song. I mean really.

Anonymous said...

No, not a lot of Icky (that I remember, anyway) but a LOT of the picky. That's why Nicole ended up working a lot better...

And you're right, I chalk it up to the bizarre land of the midwest.


Memarie Lane said...

When I was growing up people would always belt out the "Maria" song from West Side Story. Errr... my name is Marie? Not Maria? Hello? The school kids called me Skinny Bone Jones (my last name was nothing close to Jones). When I got older I became known as The Brain.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

soapbox mom - Ah yes, I too am proud to be from the bizarro world of the midwest.

marie - Can't. Stop. My. Self...

Maria. I just met a girl named Maria.

Hey, it's not as easy to resist as you'd think.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Noone made fun of my name as a kid, lucky for me I had lots of other things for them to make fun of, but I am now Mrs. Robinson and there is no end to the irritation THAT brings.

Oh yes, sing me the song. I am not a leopard print wearing cougar with a taste for college boys, but thanks.

bon bon said...

the whole reason i blog as bon bon is to keep my real name, kandy, to a minimum. i'm the youngest of 3, all "k" names. my parents ran out of ideas after 2.

small children still give me the "how can you be a food? look." in grade school i got "whatcha taste like?" h.s. and beyond? well, this is a family blog so it's best i leave those to your imagination.

i think i'm much more likely to speak out for things then if i were a karen or a's much like being the boy named sue. so, don't cross me, pal! 'cuz i'm no candy ass. ;o)

Anonymous said...

I was called Lisa-Pisa. Har har....but the worst thing I heard was for some classmates whose last name was and is "Fluck."

Not kidding... at all.

Think of all the things that went with that!

Anonymous said...

Fancy Nancy Pants and Nurse Nancy was about as bad as it got, which is not too bad at all, considering. When I got older, I used that Nurse Nancy thing to my advantage ;)

Nancy in CT

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

shieldmaiden96 - Doo-doo-doodoo-doo-doo-doodoo-doo-doo-doodoo-doo

bon bon - You must have been a bit ahead of your time. I don't think I ever knew any "Kandys" when I was a kid. Lucky for them ;b

jonnymommy - The poor kid. He didn't stand a chance.

nancy - Good for you. If you can't lick em, join em! Hmmm, can you still say that?

wayabetty said...

As I mentioned in my blog a while back that all 5 of us were given 2 names when we were born, one is Vietnamese and the other is American. One is for school (formal) and one is for home. Don't ask me why but that's what Mom did.

Anyway, I didn't reveal in my blog of my "real" first name but my American name, anyway...I used my "real" name when I went to school. And it gets very confusing since nobody can pronounce it. I called to rent a room and my future roommate said "it sounds like Mr. T", so that's how it went for 4 years.

'Til this day, my hubbie (since we went to school together) gets confused as to what I'd like to be introduced to his friends. So he just calls me "oh you!" like that Seinfeld episode.

Robin said...

What a coincidence, I just did a post on all the things I have heard about my name through the years...

Anonymous said...

Michelle, my belle.

My parent's friends would sing this to me...creepy!

My friends always tried to give me nicknames: Shelly, Mitch (you see where that would go), Chell, Missy (see below). I always said, "My name is Michelle." And wouldn't respond to anything else.

Others I have heard:
Lovely Rita meter maid (what is it with Beatles' songs?)
Ryan's cryin'
Sissy Missy
Gunner's Funner (yes, I really know someone named Gunner)
Chris is a priss
Jester Lester

G said...

Regina can be made to rhyme with a female body part and that's just not fun for a grade schooler, Mom.

Anonymous said...

Here is a site that lists over 4,000 songs that have female names.