Well, it looks like Java Janie goes to the head of the class with 2 correct answers on yesterday’s M&MM nickname quiz, Grandma-P also came pretty close on two explanations. DaveB is disqualified even though he got them all correct because it’s my quiz and he’s known me for nearly 30 years.
The answers (in chronological order)
Curly-bud (D-1). I was christened Curly-bud by my sister when I was a toddler because I had what seemed like endless waves of curly red hair. She will still occasionally call me this from time to time. The irony is not lost.
Casper (B-2). I grew up in a nearly all-black neighborhood in Camden NJ. This nickname was given to me around the time I was in middle-school by my friends while we played street football. The name was not a reference to my ghostly white skin (though I was the only white kid out there…) but b/c of the similarity of my build and skills (broad shoulders, moderately agile, good hands) to then Oakland Raiders All-Pro Tight-End, Dave Casper.
Clouds (A-3). High school. Oddly enough this is not a reference to neither my head being in the clouds nor in a cloud of cigarette smoke. During those years, my best friend had a creative streak in both drawing and writing. Taking inspiration from comic books, he fashioned stories of paranormals – whose characters were loosely based on people that he knew. My character could control the weather – hence, Clouds as a nickname.
Bubba (E-4). This is probably my most frequently used nickname. When I started graduate school at UNC, the folks in the folks in our lab decided that I needed a “real” Southern nickname – even though none of them were from the south either. I got to choose between “Bubba” and “Junior” – I chose Bubba thinking it would be a passing phase for a few weeks. It stuck for 4 years. And because science is such a small community, it’s followed me everywhere I’ve gone since.
El Gato (C-5): This is the most recent nickname that I’ve received – which I received on the tennis court. I am the eldest of the friends that I began playing tennis with when I moved to San Diego – as such, I am always fighting the “old man” stereotypes. My friends always seemed a little surprised at my speed and agility – for such old guy, and one that’s never been, let’s say, lithe. One time I joked about my cat-like reflexes, and there it was – El Gato was born.