Thursday, May 05, 2005

Soap Gets In Your Eyes

Why is it that no matter how old you get there are some things you just can’t leave behind; way, way behind in the dim, distant and cliched past where they belong? Like bad haircuts or your first girlfriend’s phone number (27925), or that dream when you’re standing in the middle of the school playground in nothing but your underwear… and not the cool Calvin Klein ones either but instead, something from Marks & Spencer’s “funky” leopard print collection that your Mum bought with loving pride.

Oooh, I know that Neil’ll just love these.”

I did as a matter of fact but that’s beside the point. The point is that some things (good, bad or jungle patterned) are going to be with you till the day you die and with me it’s going to be nicknames.

Now I’m a lucky boy because not only have I been honoured with one nickname from my ex-work colleagues for the past fifteen years or so, I’ve also had another, separate nickname that I acquired at High School many years previously.

Nicknames are a curious form of recognition and acceptance, often bestowed in a loving way between close friends (predominantly male) without fear of misunderstanding or hidden agendas. If chosen, agreed on and confered in quick time, it’s remarkable how quickly they become a hardened and permanent part of the vocabulary traded between good friends and colleagues.

Of course, there’s always an exception to that rule and when, some years back, I shared a house with two other guys, “Annoying Wee Shite Who Makes Too Much F#cking Noise In The Morning” was perhaps not snappy enough to catch on in the affectionate way I intended.

The origin of how a nickname came to be can often go astray as the years drift by. Indeed there are many acquaintances from long ago whose real names I can barely recall but whose nicknames will stay with me always; “B#stard Girlfriend Stealer” springs instantly to mind. Explanations of nickname origins are rarely as entertaining as the mystique of wondering how a person procured a title but here anyway is an account of my experience.

Picture the scene. I’m sitting in the coffee room on my first or second day in a new job within the Bank trying to avoid conversation by chain smoking furiously. (Ah, those were the days.) A colleague sits down next to me with that eager, desperate-to strike-up-a-conversation look on his face.

David: “So Neil, what do you do in your spare time?”

Neil (mind racing, don’t mention the stamp collecting or the leopard underpants): “Well, eh, I play a bit of football and I’m in a band.”

David: “Oh really, a band? So what kind of stuff do you play?”

Neil: “Oh you know, we write a bit of our own stuff and do some Springsteen, Bryan Adams, U2…

David: “U2? Brilliant! And what do you in the band?”

Neil: “Well, I sing and play guitar a bit…”

David: “What, like The Edge?”

Neil: “Eh, well no, not exac…”


And so it stuck. As nicknames go, The Edge is pretty cool and I like it a lot but it’ll never completely dethrone the original effort from High School. I don’t remember the exact conversation (mainly because I’ve tried very hard to forget it) but I was telling my pals about how my Dad got his nickname at school and before I could shut myself up, it was out.

Neil: “So you see chaps, interestingly it went from ‘Sutherland’ to ‘Suthers’ to ‘Suths’ to ‘Suds’ and ended up as ‘Soapy Suds’. Oh golly, what have I said?”

Assorted Pals: “Soapy! Soapy! Soapy! Soapy! Soapy! Soapy! Soapy!

And there you have it. Not, after all, an amusing bath-time incident with soap on a rope but a happy accident from a gibbering fool. It only remains for me to salute all I can recall who have had the honour of being… eh… honoured with a nickname to last until the twelfth of never… ‘cause that’s a long, long time.

So here’s to Big Al, Big Mac, Big Rab, Big Stevie, Wee Brian, Wee Davie, Wee Kev, Wee Duggie (inventive stuff, eh?) Fat Boab, Fat Controller, Baldie B#stard, Tommy Tomato, The Corner, Heavy Tops, Ducks Arse, Dannie, DC, CJ, BA, M2, BMG, RHDD, Gads, Robo, Danger, Joansie, Woody, Cocky, Coby, Cliffy, Gogsie, Gorry, Marshy, Tattie, Sharpy, Shuggie, Shaky, Smithy, Smash, Leesy, Manny, Nelly, Smiler, Gobber, Panda, Pongo, Plug, Ned, Spud, Crof, Prof, Papa, Noss, Foxy(?), Maggie(??), Gladys(???), Beano, ‘Onest, Xavier, Hammy, Blousie, Busby, Bhuna, Kirky, Happy, Poochie, Chomper, Horse, Bully, Nipola, Gabby, Shagger, Duey, Louis, Bertie Big Nose, and last but not least Handsome F#cking Drummer Who Got All The Burdz.

You know who you are and I love you all… in that manly way without fear of misunderstanding or hidden agendas.


At 7/5/05 2:09 am, Blogger carl said...

Beats the f#ck outta "Tongue-tied Tommy Darby" Demented little b@st@rds anyway...

At 7/5/05 8:33 pm, Blogger carl said...

Dear Mr.Sutherland,
Please forgive my husband. I think that it's wonderful that you picked up your 'nickname' from your father in such a round-about way. Also, if your band can raise awareness to the lifting of toilet seats, go for it. It may help my husband somehow.
Mary Darby

At 8/5/05 8:14 pm, Blogger Neil said...

At least you've got over it now Tom!?!?! The band have a huge challenge in front of them... learning some songs would be a start.

At 12/5/05 10:38 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scarey Mary!

burreh...thanks for that cos i had wondered! Of course I should have figured it out, but didn't. I had the name Itchy for a while, and Redser...but Sai seems to be the one that's stuck (mostly)

At 13/5/05 3:14 pm, Blogger DC said...

I think a more exciting story could be told - don't let truth get in the way.

I spoke to a number of associates about nicknames they've had - very interesting results.

john " Baldy" Milne was once "Fuzzy" on account of his thick curly hair.

Dave Paterson - once Known as "Pud" on account of his stature or " Pat " due to his stutter- eg " what's yourname?"

" Dave P, P , Pat, Pat, ...."

Worst are self proclaimed nicknames " From now on call me Stud/Butch/Starsky/Gladys etc "

There are names used but not directly to the person " here comes Basher Big Tits " - would you say that to his face ? Teachers have always attracted names and I don't mean "Sir"



At 27/2/08 10:41 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had my first headhunt in the curikudos job fair held in 2006. And now i think its time to switch over. Can some one let me know when the job fair starts again.


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