A problem I share with the occasional dachshund.

Jun 15th

A few weeks ago, Lu and Edy started calling Beatrice “Beat-rice” when she misbehaves. Which is often. “Beat-rice! Get off the dining room table.” “That’s not food, Beat-rice.” 

I think it’s hysterical. Her naughty alter-ego. Clever, funny and fitting.  Just add it to the rest of her nicknames – Bea, Beazy, Beaz Louise.

Have you had or do you have any nicknames?

I love nicknames. Probably because I never really had one. Or at least a good one. One that stuck. Where do you go with Gretchen? Gretch. Bo-ring. If you’re my brother, you lobby for Wretch because it’s mean and you even test out Grendel when your English class reads Beowulf. Thankfully, neither made it much further than our front door. Gretchen is simply not a great nickname name.

Oh, how I wanted a cute and sassy nickname. Just another name in general would have been nice. As it was, my neighbor’s dog was named Gretchen. And a family up the street had a dog named Gretchen. And the class bully had a dog named Gretchen. All German Shepherds, though it’s also a favorite among dachshunds. It was fun until age 10. Then it was humiliating until age 16. Then most of the Gretchens died off and the neighbors replaced theirs with a Heidi.

Back to nicknames.

My best friend had the best nickname ever. Ever. Her real name was Johanna Beth. Sounds like a Louisa May Alcott character who can’t wait to let her hair down and try on her father’s trousers. Formal, but with tom boy potential. Perfect start. Everyone called her “Joby.” I know, it’s the best. And it totally suits her. Her nickname even had a nickname – Jobis Wan Kenobis. Oh, to be so lucky.

When I first turned 21, Joby and I hit the Chestnut Hill bar scene. We loved to tell (the throngs of adoring) fellas that our names were Mardette and Josepha – two of my sister’s honest-to-goodness childhood friends. Still makes me giggle. The silliest part, though, is the fact that in a sea of Jennifers and Lisas, Gretchen and Joby were just as unlikely.

Back to nicknames.

In college, my friend started calling me Gurchin Sea Urchin, which was quickly shortened to Gert. That actually hung on for a while. Then after college, when I was setting up my first email account, the woman on the phone was possibly deaf. (Yes, I set up my first email account over the phone. I also owned a brightly colored, super fat Mac that looked less high tech and more toy department.) I wanted to incorporate Gert, but the woman heard Bert and once she set my shiny new address, it was too much trouble to fix. My friend immediately stopped calling me Gert and started calling me Bert. And she still does.

Besides Bert, the only other nicknames I currently have are Gretty Ann, used only by an old friend I call Betty Anne, Gretchie, used only by my sister and her family, and G-$ (G-Money), Jon’s wanna-be-hip invention. He really uses it. A lot.

When Lu was on the way, we chose to name our first born after someone. I always liked my mother’s mother’s name, Lydia Frances. But Lydia would have a nickname for sure. Lu (not Lulu!) was ideal. Cute, unique, fun. Lu MacKenzie. Sounds like a football coach who wears a fedora. I also call her Lu Bug and Jon calls her Lu Bear, which is annoying. We should just pick one and go with it. Too late.

I felt compelled to honor my other grandmother when our second daughter was born. I love the name Edith because it’s classic. But of course, she needed a nickname. Went back and forth between Edie and Edy. I thought, by choosing the “y,” she wouldn’t be called Eddie by accident. (Only on purpose by some boys on the bus. Happy, confident Eee-dee doesn’t care.) At home, she’s Edy Pie. Or Pie Pie. Or just Pie.

Then we have Bea, Beazy, Beaz Louise. And the ever-present threat of Beat-Rice, which I’m afraid is a keeper.

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