January 10th…TELL OF NICKNAMES YOU’VE HAD OVER THE YEARS FROM FAMILY OR FRIENDS.
Nomenclatorial superlatives, alias nicknames, have followed me throughout my life. Within my immediate family, the three syllables of “ELL-I-OTT” were often chopped down to a single burst of “Heyyy ELL”. It was short, I know, but then again so was I……short, that is! Now the word, “nick”, means a small cut or indentation and, I guess you could say that any of us who are tagged with a nickname are receiving a small kind of “dent” when that substitutionary name is used in place of our given birth name. It all depends whether that silly salutation is directed in an affectionate or derisive way. On a rather intriguing aside, the British usage of the verbiage “nick” is employed to describe a prison or a person being arrested.
Like most nicknames, some of mine over the years were a bit derisive and intended to embarrass me, but I came to the point of grinning and bearing the tease and taking them in stride. I learned to keep smiling and hope for a better outcome on the other side of the “ribbing” that I endured for the moment. For instance, one of my Grade School buddies used to mimic the old “Nestle’s Quik” television commercial from the early 1960’s. He’d sing the tune of the commercial “jingle” and insert my name into certain spots…..”N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Elliott is the very best…..CHOCOLATE”.
A favorite “cops n robbers” television show for many of us kids in the early 1960’s was, “Eliot Ness and The Untouchables” (by the way, the real Mr. Ness was a Norwegian like me….yah shure yew betcha). It was a thrilling TV show about FBI crime fighters and their exploits in the America of the 1920’s. The handsome actor, Robert Stack, played the part of Ness. In this case, there was yet another Grade School classmate who enjoyed tagging me with the nickname ……“Hey there, Eliot Ness!!” (yes, Mr. Ness used only one L and one T in his first name.
Throughout my 31 years as a custodian for the Battle Ground School District, many sweet little kiddos would tag me with the latest cartoon or movie idol that had the name of Elliott somewhere in its story line. Walt Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” was one venue of yet another nickname for me. I can’t even begin to count the number of students at Glenwood Heights Elementary who would holler down the school halls with, “Heyyy There Pete’s Dragon!!” or, “There goes Elliott the invisible dragon!!”.
Director Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” film brought me yet another nickname while custodian at my beloved elementary school called Glenwood Heights. The little boy in the movie was known as “Elliott”. Many a student, in those days, would approach me in the halls with the classic “bent finger” of the space creature and tell me in a strange voice from outer space, “E. T. phone home!”
Overall, this subject of nicknames has been fun over the years. I tease folks by saying, “You can call me anything you want……..just don’t call me “late for dinner” “ :o) These have been just a few of the “handles” that describe this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.