Yesterday, I became embroiled in a discussion with my wife Karen and her sister Sue about nicknames. During this cordial conversation, the origins of my brother Ian’s nom d’plume of Cheese was raised by my spouse.
My spouse referring to a moniker I coined for our kid in the mid 1970’s, after concluding his early nickname of ‘E’ (short for his name, pronounced E-an) was a woeful nickname creativity wise.
Consequently, I gave myself a good talking to regarding my lack of effort selecting the alternate moniker of ‘E’…… Sadly, I undertook this conversation in Russian, meaning I’d no chuffing idea of the content of the self-admonishment.
It was at that time our kid’s nickname of Cheese commenced it’s evolution. A time when I introduced the inaugural prototype moniker of Edam – A title I gave him as it was an extension of ‘E’, along with the fact Ian had a mane of white hair similar in colour to the Dutch cheese.
In the fledgling weeks of Edam, I was quite pleased with the new name I’d bequeathed to my younger sibling, something he also seemed to embrace. However, after a few weeks I grew bored of the name, a fact probably exacerbated by the fact no one at this vantage had adopted it to address our kid.
With this in mind Edam was revamped. Consequently, courtesy of my immature mind, our Ian/E/Edam (delete where applicable) became Edam Cheesehead. Admittedly, a less slick brand name for Ian Strachan, but I took the hit of additional syllables in his title, feeling it reflected more on his trademark white bonce. His calling card of brilliant white hair, which was almost albino-esque appearance.
The two worded title may have been more of a mouthful, but I felt suffixing Edam with the word Cheesehead gave it potential to evolve into a nickname people would eventually adopt.
Realising, though, it still required tweaking prior to roll out on the Oakfield Junior School playground, I shed the Edam element of my sibling’s moniker. Consequently, Edam Cheesehead became just Cheesehead.
It was at this point of the nickname’s evolution where small numbers of friends began adopting the title to address our kid.
I, though, still thought the name wasn’t quite where it needed to be to achieve the longevity I sought for Strachan junior. Feeling I needed to reduce the syllables in Cheesehead, I now had the conundrum of taking the nickname on a step by changing it to Cheese or Head.
Deeming that Head as a ridiculous alternative moniker, with little chance of being adopted, Cheese was born….. Well, the nickname was. My brother’s birth was around nine years earlier.
From that day in the mid 1970’s, the majority of friends, family, teachers and acquaintances have chosen to address my brother as Cheese, or variations such as Cheesy.
As project manager for the creation of this spanking new nickname, I was delighted it’s success. Implemented within budget and with few issues; apart from perhaps the requirement for more tweaks than I’d have liked, mainly due to poor User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
Forty years on, our kid still predominantly gets addressed by his peers as Cheese. There are very few who don’t utilise his nickname in preference to Ian. The only people who won’t countenance using his alternative moniker members of the pithily named ‘Pelaw Refusal to Call Anyone Cheese Society’ (PRCACS).
Oh, and me……. I very rarely utilise the nickname, bizarrely re-adopting the title of ‘E’ for my sibling many years back. The very name I deemed unfit for purpose forty years ago.
Before I close, yesterday’s nickname discussion unearthed some interesting news about my wife’s circle of friends. In particular, the fact loads of them possess the name Jean.
Apparently to help her differentiate, my spouse has nicknames for all the Jeans. Consequently she has buddies called ‘Little Jean’, ‘Medium Sized Jean’, ‘Tall Jean’, ‘Even Taller Jean’, ‘Ginger Jean’ and ‘Posh Jean’.
What intrigued me about the nicknames is ‘Little Jean’ is taller than ‘Medium Sized Jean’, not to mention the bizarre fact ‘Tall Jean’ isn’t smaller than ‘Even Taller Jean’.
I was also interested to note there’s a ‘Ginger Jean’ and a ‘Posh Jean’. Sadly, though, the absence of ‘Sporty Jean’, ‘Scary Jean’ and ‘Baby Jean’ meant my hopes of a Middle-Aged Spice Girl tribute band died a death.