I have a surname – Tape – that produces countless nicknames; sticky, masking, video, sello, scotch, worm, measure, recorder, player. I’ve heard them all.
I have a first name that has a somewhat… unfortunate… shortening; Dick.
I have a middle name that I dislike so much that only 3 people on the entire planet know what it is (no I won’t tell you). That being said it could have been worse. When, as a petulant teenager, I asked my parents why they gave me my middle name, my Mum’s response was “Well, it was going to be Andrew. But then we realized your initials would be RAT and that wouldn’t be great.” Small mercies.
So hopefully it’s fairly apparent that I’ve had a long and somewhat complicated past when it comes to my name.
There are people back in the UK who I’ve known for years – decades even – who I’m utterly convinced don’t know my actual first name. They know me as ‘Sticky‘. It’s an obvious nickname for those in the motherland (“Sticky tape” is akin to “Scotch tape”) and I’ve been called that for so long that it’s become my de facto nom du jour.
Whenever someone back home introduces me to someone else, they’ll introduce me as Sticky. “It’s not as bad as you think” has been my instinctive response for what feels like aeons. That usually turns a Tom Selek-style raised eyebrow into a smile.
My name has become part of my character.
Quick aside; some years ago my Nan spent absolutely ages doing genealogy research on our family name. She eventually traced it back – she thought – to the Scottish McTait. So perhaps ‘scotch’ would have been a better nickname after all.
The thing is, I now live on a different continent. On a different continent with people who have only known me – as an ‘adult’ (appropriate air quotes) – by whichever name I choose to introduce myself. So I’ve been forced to decide what it is I wish people to know me by. Richard is the obvious choice, right?
Well, that’s my Dad’s name. I love my father greatly, but I’m not my Dad – I have at least 7 hairs on my head more than he does for starters. I’m proud to officially have the same name as my Dad, but for whatever reason, it’s important for me to have my own identity. It perhaps partly comes from the fact that even though my Dad’s name is Richard, he’s always been known as Rick or Ricky.
At this point we’ve ruled out Richard, Rick, Ricky, and all the nicknames you can think of. So, with all that being said, it’s fairly obvious (to me, at least) what I like to be known by.
Hi, my name’s Rich. Nice to meet you.
Yes, yes I know this domain is richard.blog : I couldn’t afford rich.blog. How ironic.