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A New Nickname

March 2, 2012

Nicknames – Black Widow, Onion Head, Boob, Samich, Slider, Rat, Crash, Hitler, Jew Boy, Cup Cake, and a host of others – some not appropriate for print. After spending over three decades in emergency service, I have certainly earned the right to weigh in on this topic.

I was a very quiet person when I first entered the world of emergency service. I quickly discovered that being quiet had its advantages. It appeared the senior firefighters had an M-16 loaded with nick-names and they were just waiting to pull the trigger.

I watched a few of my fellow recruits make a mistake with what or how they said something to a senior firefighter. Boom, boom, boom!

But I couldn’t stay quiet forever and my first nickname didn’t even require me to speak. I acquired my first tag from the way I run. I was afflicted with polio as a child and it resulted in my right leg being quite a bit shorter than the left. One look at my gallop and a quick-witted firefighter hollered – “Look, it’s “Moose.”

Some folks laugh when even they get a not-too-glamorous nick-name. It seems funny to everyone, but as times goes by the funniness can wear off. Being called “Tits” because your pectorals flop a bit when you run is only funny so long.

Whatever I say isn’t going to stop people from giving out nicknames and some of it really is just fun. I would only caution you to be observant of how it affects the person and if it looks like the person might be in need of a break, you might want to look for the opportunity to give them a new name to replace the old one.

I believe a very good friend of mine is in this category. Therefore, today I’m officially anointing this person as Harvey.

Harvey was in a Hollywood movie named “Harvey.” Harvey is an invisible rabbit with magical powers – “a benign but mischievous creature that can stop time.” And, it’s said that Harvey “has overcome not only time and space – but any objections.” It fits this person well.

Yes, this person will be called “Harvey.”

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