Sunday, June 21, 2009

Name game

I stumbled across this quite randomly this morning. It is basically, as the site name states, a baby namer, but the fun wrinkle that sets it apart from the run-of-the-mill baby name site is the "drawbacks" section. Basically, it looks at the name and lists all the annoying nickname variants that can be derived from it. I was unable to resist it, so I put in "Daniel" and here's what I got for drawbacks.
  • Kneel
  • Dandruff
  • Fanny Danny
  • Danube
  • Dan, Dan the Garbage Man
  • Dano
  • Daniel San (from The Karate Kid)
  • Dancy
  • Dan the Man
  • Lieutenant Dan (from "Forrest Gump")
  • Dan L
  • Danimal
  • Ding Dong Dan
  • Danny boy
  • Daniel, Daniel, Cocker Spaniel
  • Daniel Boone
  • Daniel Paniel
  • Danielle
OK, first off, I completely don't understand the first one. I suppose it's a riff on the "niel" section of the name, but still it's a stretch and certainly not worthy of the first drawback to the name! Reading through this list, I have actually been called many of these names, although most have not been used to refer to me since high school. The music director at my high school frequently referred to me as "Dan L" (pronounced "dan-el"). A kid in elementary school called me the cocker spaniel one (only with kind of an R-rated bend - I was a spaniel with a very large something). "Book 'em, Dano" has been used more than I would like to admit when people talk to me, even now. "Dan The Man" and "Daniel-san" are in use by many people to this day when referring to me.

This list did leave off what I consider to be the worst permutation of my name. My driver's ed teacher in high school took to referring to me as "Dandy." *shudder*

That's the thing with nicknames - they are frequently assigned without consulting with the person getting the nickname. Believe me, there was no part of my 15-year-old self that wanted to be referred to as Dandy. Even "Danny" has been a bit of a persona non grata in my life. A history teacher in high school has been one of the few people that called me that and got away with it. For some reason, it was okay coming from him. A person at work calls me Danny every now and then, and it is just so jarring, I can't bear to correct her. Fortunately, I don't have much contact with her so it doesn't happen all that often.

As a kid, I was militant about being called Daniel. But as I meandered through my adolescence, I became Dan (much to my mother's chagrin) and it just has kind of stuck.

The funny thing about all those drawbacks is that my last name really does have the perfect drawback. If I had a nickel for every time someone has said "Hey Culligan Man!" I could retire more than comfortably. What's even funnier is that every time someone says that, they act like they're the first person to ever come up with that. Yep, never heard that one before!


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