4:21 P.M. Where have all the good nicknames gone ? …

A humorous read from Cathay Kelly ,
Sports writer for the Toronto Star ;

The sad decline of the nickname in sports has reached such a nadir that we’re forced to tussle for the few good ones left.

The L.A. Angels have quickly backed off a billboard campaign in southern California showing pictures of their latest vanity purchase , Albert Pujols , paired with the title El Hombre — The Man.

Nobody asked Pujols about it ….

He’s upset that the nickname treads on the same sainted ground once levitated over by Stan ( The Man ) Musial , the talisman of Pujols’ former club , the St. Louis Cardinals. The Angels agreed never to use it again.

This is good politics on Pujols’ part. It’s even better philology.

Stan the Man has an iambic rhythm. You could slip that name into a Shakespeare sonnet.

Albert (El Hombre) Pujols rolls off the tongue sounding like a tropical disease or the skinniest guy on the undercard.

It does, at the least , limply surpass the scant effort put into the modern hockey nickname ; either pluralizing the first syllable of the last name or add a ‘ y ‘ onto it … Sometimes both …

Hockey : the official sport of adverbs …

We’ve gotten so bad at this that we’ve forgotten the most basic tenets of nicknames …

A nickname is not a movie-poster tagline … It’s not meant to be four or five words long ! … Shaquille O’Neal called himself The Big Aristotle after ripping off one Greek maxim …

If you could earn a nickname by memorizing a few lines of dialogue , there would be 150 million The Medium Krustys in North America …

A nickname is an alternate name … It’s the awful but true name your friends substitute for the ill-fitting one your parents gave you. If it really works, the only person left in your life who calls you Grover should be your mom …

Unless you are blue and someone nicknamed you Grover !!! ….

A proper nickname must cleave to at least two of the following four traits ;

It must be alliterative ;
It must reveal something of the character or play of the nicknamed ;
It must cruelly refer to a physical flaw ;
And/or it must be no more than two syllables long.

El Hombre is zero for four on that count ( five , if you include originality , and we should ).

Here’s another rule ( well , not really a rule , a foundational principle ) you cannot give yourself a nickname … It’s best if you don’t even want the nickname.

It must be thrust upon you , like a sack of grain you’re forced to hump through life …

Cruelty matters.

Once nicknames morphed from a cross to bear into a metaphoric proclamation of your own awesomeness , they were doomed …

* MORBNOTE I : My nickname ‘ Morby ‘ … Or ‘ The Morb ‘ was given to me by an individual that sort of swooped into our circle for a year or two … Then disappeared … That was close to 30 years ago !!! … It only meets one of Cathay’s 4 criteria ( the forth ) … , plus it was certainly not created by myself , as he alluded to in the article … But it’s stuck with me all these many years ! … Hence the name of this blog …

* MORBNOTE II ; Cathay has a wonderfully adept talent utilizing his above average vocabulary ! … I would hope he types those words from mind thru fingers out of a lifetime of taking in and NOTICING the wonderful complexity of the English language , rather than Google up Wikipedia for new words !!! … I must admit tho … I had to Google three words he utilized in that column , as I wasn’t sure if he chose the correct words as placed in the context of his sentence !!! … Sure enough ! … He was indeed correct ! …

WELL DONE MR. KELLY !!! … And a good chuckle to boot !!! …

via Kelly: Where have all the good nicknames gone? – thestar.com.


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