Every family has nicknames.
As an especially large family, the Clan has an especially large number of nicknames. In fact, most of us have at least two nicknames, and some have closer to six.
This makes getting to know our family a little difficult. Introductions with the Clan are always an interesting process because we take a certain gleeful pleasure in rattling off all our names to guests or strangers, and then warning them that “there will be a quiz later.”
Memorizing 13 names (and putting them to the correct faces) is a pretty significant challenge, but it would be at least a little easier if we actually called each other by our names in conversations. Unfortunately for anyone trying to figure out who’s who, that’s not something we reliably do.
I’m just as likely to call my younger brothers by one of their many nicknames as I am to call them by their actual names. Becca hardly ever gets called by her actual name, and then it’s usually because she’s being yelled at or recruited for a chore.
Also, as you’ve probably noticed by this point, I refer to most of my siblings by one of their nicknames here on the blog. You didn’t really think my parents actually decided to name someone something like Tubby or Nah, did you?
Of course, none of this makes it any easier for the poor souls trying to figure out who’s who in the Clan. And I feel truly sorry for them for this.
But if it makes you feel any better, my siblings and I don’t have it that easy ourselves. All those names and nicknames are hard to keep straight, even for us. We routinely call each other by the wrong name, or half start three different names before we figure out which one we’re looking for.
Mom has problems remembering all our names, too. It’s gotten to the point now with the thirteen of us that to counteract the issue of having multiple personal nicknames, we’ve created some generic, placeholder names that Mom uses when she can’t remember who she’s actually trying to talk to.
These are names like Larry or Jeff. We all know if Mom resorts to Larry and hard pointing, it’s best not to quibble about the finer points of names. Also, although this doesn’t happen very often, when we completely blank on a name, “Hey you!” also works.
And then as if it weren’t confusing enough already, in addition to our real names, our multitude of nicknames, and names like “Larry” that could be directed at anyone, we also have code names for each other.
These are really the icing on top of the cake, the final layer of confusion that continuously makes people (including ourselves) throw up in their hands in despair. If you thought it was bad enough already hearing one person get called by 3 different names in the space of one conversation, just wait until we start talking about code names Ringworm, Cheeseball, and Dishpan.
I can neither confirm nor deny whether having code names means we’re super secret spy agents, although the code names come in very handy when we’re going on top secret missions. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re secret agents because as it turns out, being a secret agent is mutually exclusive from having a code name and going on secret missions.
And the fact that we have much cooler code names than James Bond is also irrelevant, even though we all agree Dishpan is definitely a more awesome code name than Agent 007.
However, besides the code names the Clan has nothing in common with James Bond or any other secret agent, so I would say there’s really no proof that we’re secret agents of any kind. We just happen to have code names and sometimes go on secret missions.
By the way, if you were interested in the parent perspective on the whole nicknaming situation, here’s the scoop. Before any of us were born, Mom and Dad were certain they didn’t want names for us that could be made into goofy nicknames. They named my oldest brother David because they were pretty sure they could insist that his name was David and not Dave or Davy. They named the rest of us with that same thing in mind.
But then Dad had nicknames for everyone and we started the secret mission code names. So that idea didn’t work out quite exactly as planned. If you ask my parents, though, they’ll still insist that we still do not have nicknames really.
That’s good to know.
The moral of the story of the multitude of Clan nicknames, if there is one, is that at this point we’ll answer to pretty much anything: our name, a nickname, a code name, or even a sibling’s name if we’re not paying attention. I couldn’t tell you how many times Mom has called someone by the wrong name and they still responded.