A Nickname Timeline

I believe everyone should have a nickname, good or bad, it really doesn' t matter. It's the having one that makes them so great.

Of course the best nicknames are the ones that either describe someone -- whether accurately or sarcastically (like a big guy named "Tiny") -- or stems from an incident that got them that moniker. Then there's what I call the "teammate" nickname (called that because it's present in sports a lot), which simply adds a "y" to a part or the end of your last name (Schmidt becomes Schmidty, Jones becomes Jonesy, Davis becomes Davey, Figgins becomes Figgy, Erstad becomes Ersty...). There's the J-Lo trend of nicknames, too (ie A-Rod, K-Fed, X-Tina.)

I've never really had a good, legit nickname. I've had plenty, but nothing really solid and as we speak, I consider myself sans nickname. Below is a historical timeline of my nicknames:

1979 - present
"Joe Willie"

I was actually born with a nickname. During his NFL career, quarterback Joe Namath was often called Broadway Joe and Joe Willie (from his middle name William.) Since I was named after Namath -- first and middle name both -- all my dad's buddies started calling me Joe Willie as soon as I came home from the hospital. A few of them still jokingly refer to me as Joe Willie.

1979 - present

Almost everyone on my mom's side of the family still calls me Joey.

1987 - 1991

'Top Gun' had just been out and I'm sure people were being called Maverick and Iceman more than ever. I was tagged with the Iceman name by my Little League coach, who called me that because "when Joe pitches, he has ice water in his veins." The name also carried over into my soccer career, as I was an all-area all-star at goaltender (in all honesty, I was really good!) My team's won league championships almost every year and would always make it to the finals, if not win, all the area cups and tournaments. In a championship game, I faced two penalty kicks in regulation, plus five in a shootout. I blocked all seven shots. Ice water, baby.

At the time, I really dug being called Iceman but like my career as a Little League closer and AYSO goalie, the name was short-lived.

"Chief Running Scared"

Okay, here's the story. It was middle school and I had my first ever girlfriend. She had a birthday party at her house and of course, I was there. During the party, she pulled me aside to her room. Being the clueless kid I was, I started checking out the crap that was on ther bookcase or dresser or something like that, my back turned to her. When I turned around, she had taken off her shirt and bra, exposing me to my first pair of in-the-flesh breasts. I'm not sure what most 13 year olds do these days, or even back then, but I know what I did...I ran. I ran right out the room, out the front door and down to the corner pay phone, where I promptly called my mom and asked her to pick me up, lying to her that the party was over.

The next day at school, I found out I was given the Native American-esque nickname Chief Running Scared, probably because 'Dances With Wolves' had come out around the same time. It's safe to say that the girl and I are not currently dating. In fact, she dumped me a few days afterwards, citing that I was "too slow." And she wasn't talking about my foot speed...


It was fair to call me a husky kid when I hit puberty. Not fat or chubby by any stretch of the imagination, but I wasn't slender by any means either. I also set a Long Beach Pony League single-season record of 26 hit-by-pitches my 13-year-old year (I have the stat book to prove it...not sure if it still stands.) I was also the starting catcher of the team, and as any catcher will tell you, it's a tough gig. Balls fouled off, bruises from blocking pitches, etc. Given all the above circumstances, my Pony manager lovingly told me "Man, Joe, you're just a piece of meat out there!" The name Meat stuck.


Probably the weirdest of all my nicknames, but during my freshman year in high school, I hung out with two guys from the golf team a lot. One already had the nickname of "Syrup" because of all the gel he put in his hair and the other kid was named Laramie. Combine "Syrup" with Laramie and you get Sylarm. It was a nickname that only lasted my freshman year and was only used by my golf teammates.


In a feeble attempt to give me a nickname, my friends tried to call me Sloppy Joe. Not sure if it was because of my appearance or because of the way I handled my booze, but it was Sloppy for a good six months.

"The Kenyan"

I think this is the only self-imposed nickname I've ever had. It stemmed from one long and loud New Years Eve night involving a girl and a sleeping bag and subsequently, a series of, um, "exploits" with said female regarding my "stamina". When my friends didn't believe me, I simply told them "Dude, I'm not a sprinter, I'm a marathon man...I'm like those Kenyans, baby!"

"Two-and-oh Joe"

In an attempt to get in shape, I took some serious one-on-one boxing lessons for about four months at a local gym. Around the same time, a friend asked me if I'd even been in a fight and I said "I've thrown a punch only twice...and I won both times." So my amateur mixed martial arts record is 2-0, hence the name. (Fight history: first punch thrown was in 8th grade when a kid made fun of my sister and threw a grape Blow Pop at her...I decked him and chipped a tooth. My next foray into hand-to-hand combat came in 2001 when I was a youth sports coach and referee for the YMCA. During a soccer game, I threw a kid out of the game for constantly slide tackling opponents. When I threw him out, his dad started screaming at me from the stands. After the game, I was putting the balls and netting away in the storage bins. When I walked out, the dad jumped me and in self-defense, I threw a wild right hook which connected somewhere on his head. Luckily there were other parents and adults there to restrain the dad and prevent me from going 1-1.)

Nowadays, if it's not just plain ol' Joe, I get a lot of J-Led's, Leddy's and Big Joe's thrown my way. I guess not having a nickname isn't the end of the world, but still, it would be cool.


Adam G Partridge said...

Nicknames can be tough. I've gone with, off and on over the years, the following:
the white hound of rebound
big pimpin' or pimp daddy
weight room
milk shake
show tunes
glass ankles
I think it's good to have several so as to fit every occasion.

Conrad said...

Is your nickname not Brosef?

j.h.k. said...

For the record, I never called you Sloppy Joe because I just didn't like it. 2-and-0 still cracks me up but it's too long. I'm gonna find you a real good one, just you wait. Also, I'd like to point out that all but the last two of Adam's nicknames were self-coined.