Call Me "Suede"

"So my name is Johnathan Fredericks"

"Nice to meet you Johnat-"

"No one calls me that though. I go by Suede."

Well isn't that interesting. Makes you wonder a few things. First of what's up with the whole nickname thing? How do you get a nickname? And of course, How is it a guy who goes by Kludge feels like he has the right to cap on anyones alter-egos.

So we were watching a movie last night, and as the credits roll by I see this Johnny "Suede" Lewis, one tick off. For some reason it just struck me funny. I sat there pondering it for a bit, then turned to my wife who was getting ready for bed.

"Patricia," I queried, "How does one get a nickname like Suede?"

To which she responded something about the time, why I even ask these questions, and then ended the conversation with, "How can a guy who goes by Kludge even ask that question."



Clearly I was going to have to solve this puzzle by myself. So I put my thinking cap on and went to work. The first thing I figured out is how many names we already have. I mean, don't the majority of us get three right off the bat? And who really uses their middle name?

Most people don't even know that they have a middle name, unless they have to fill out a form or something. For me there is always that pause...middle name....right. I used to get a refresher course frequently when I was a child in my parents house. They were always using my middle name, and it was never a pretty sound! Seems wrong to invent a new name for yourself when a perfectly good one is lying fallow in the middle of your name.

"Oh, so you don't like Patrick eh?"

"Well I just thought "Dry-Rot" had a better ring to it. You don't mind that I never used you in quotes do you?"

There is also the simple point of communication. If everyone has thee or four different names, it would get confusing.

"Have you seen Headrush?

"Which one is he?"

"Short fellow with red hair."

"Oh! Boy Wonder! He's over by Suede"

"Which one is Suede-"

Which begs the next question, How do you get a nickname? Do you earn it through feats of strength, cunning or wisdom? How does it work? Do you pick one for yourself? Is it purchased online or at a nickname shop in the mall?

"How much for that nickname... uh 'QuailBoy'"

"It's on discount today. Surprisingly enough"

I have been given a fair share of nicknames in my life. Some I liked and some, well not so much. Kludge though is not a nickname. Its a web handle. I use it for computing use, and nothing else. I suppose it's similar after a fashion though. Maybe I need to get a good nickname though...Something really out there like 'HardHat' or 'Thumbs'. Just to make people wonder...

How did he get a nickname like that?


Boston Love said...

I love nicknames: giving and receiving them. To me, it's a sign of affection but I have to be careful because some people don't appreciate me turning a pretty name like Samantha into Sam. Interesting article.

kludge said...

Boston Love-
To each his/her own. I worked with a guy who called me 'peanut butter' it wasn't my favorite, but I knew he was just being chummy. :)

I rarely give out nicknames... I suppose its because if I'm going to call someone a name, its because I'm mad at them...

Those are rarely endearing!

Boston Love said...


I would hate being called peanut butter(WTH?). No wonder you are anti nicknames. I've only heard good nicknames to my face!!!

Anonymous said...

I got my nickname before my real name. My mother didn't think of a girls name at all. So there I was and all she did was call me "little miss missy" It is the nickname for Melissa, which I didn't know was my name until I was in the first grade. Your mother-in-law had to teach me how to spell it for school. I of course grew up believing Missy was a little girls name and went my Melissa when I started working. In my first real job, my boss started calling me Melvin, shortened to Mel. So, I go by Missy(my sisters), Miss(Tim), Missen(Bill N),Melvin(coworkers) and Mel(The Huysentruyts) We won't even go where Huysentruyt can become!

Tony said...

I think the appeal of nicknames is that they are given to you, that is, the person you are. Official names are something parents think up usually before you were even born, and can reflect their dreams and hopes of who they wished you would become, and not the person you really are.

...Of course, being the antisocial one who only has the nickname of "hey you over there", what do I know? :P

(...Or was I supposed to just say something semi-funny and not overthink this? :P )

kludge said...


I'm impressed you can keep it all straight!! Thats awesome!

I'm might have to start calling you something else, just to see if I can add to your list.

kludge said...

Boston Love-

He was ripped.. See Goodyear Post. I let him do whatever he wanted to.

kludge said...


Actually, that makes sense. I like that point of view!

Are you over-thinking it? Not here my friend. The more data the better! Then add a funny comment.

Ando said...

The nicknames I don't get are ones like Bill for William or Jack for John. If I want to shorten Robert, why not go with Rob, which makes perfect sense, instead of Bob which really makes no sense at all. And that Jack/John thing? You're not even saving any syllabuls.

Jason said...

I am good friends with a John Frederick, but he has no nickname.

J Crew said...

I have had some given and some I named myself. My opinion is that something just strikes you and that is how you get or give a nickname. Interesting post as now my mind is spinning as to nicknames