I've been thinking about names and nicknames lately. I have nicknames for my kids, but not really my wife. We don't have nicknames. Did we come up in an age where nicknames weren't really a thing? Not really. Plenty of people I know have nicknames. Sure, you can add an "ie" to become Zachie or Lynnie but that doesn't really count. I might have a pet name for her, but it's kind of personal... Plus "Sugar-Pussy" isn't really appropriate for my blog. Most nicknames we had growing up were people making fun of us in some snarky way. (Smithers comes to mind.)

My friend's daughter has the middle name "Rome" (which I love!). He calls her "Ro-mee" and I picked up on that. So I call her "Ro-may-oh!" like Mercutio calls Romeo in the Baz Luhrmann masterpiece "Romeo + Juliet". I love that movie and I love a good insider nickname.

For the longest time, my Mom told me that my name was going to be "Andrew" and that they were going to call me "Drew". But when she had me, she was hopped up on goofballs. I think I've talked about this before, but if you're not familiar, it's kind of crazy. My due date was June and I was born in August, I guess they let you bake longer back then. (And before you come at me with the gestation math, my parents weren't together at the time so my mom knows exactly when she got pregnant. I definitely went two months long.) So when the nurse came in and asked her what my name was going to be she blurted out "Zachary!" And so Zachary Michael was written on the paperwork and it was official. So I could have been Andy Garcia before Andy Garcia was cool.

I've heard that story lots of times. I've told that story lots of times. And it turns out it's all a lie. Or more than likely, it's the right story and my Mom is losing it. Either way, I was corrected last night. We went out for my birthday dinner and she was reminiscing about my birth all those decades ago. Our cousin and his boyfriend joined us for dinner, so we were going through things with a little more detail because they'd never heard these origin stories. I mentioned the goofballs story and she piped up right away... It wasn't the goofballs... It turns out that even though my Dad wasn't really in the picture anymore, he didn't like the name "Andy" and he didn't want people to call me that, so he vetoed the name right away. It makes him sound like a dick but he really wasn't. I'm sure he had his reasons. So come to find out, my name was far more premeditated than I ever knew. She also told me for the first time that they had also considered Michael but there were too many Mike's in the family already, so they made it my middle name. Again, who knew?

As an aside, my sister Karen was born around Christmas and was originally to be called "Noelle". I'm not sure if I'm spelling it correctly but that's my new nickname for her. I couldn't hear my mom say why they nixed the name, but Karen is just so fitting for her because she'd definitely like to speak with the manager.

I have names for my kids that make no sense at all, yet they make perfect sense when you break them down. Everyone knows that Lyza is half LYnn/half ZAch and that her middle name is Bea, after Homer J. Simpson. I call her "Pete" or "Peter" or "Peetie" or some other iteration of the name Peter. I call her that because when she was a baby I would cuddle her, hold her, and feed her a bottle. And while I was feeding her I would talk to her. Sometimes I'd tell her movie plots, sometimes I'd recite song lyrics or sing songs, sometimes I'd drop wisdom and advice to her. During these chats, I started calling her my "Sweetsie Peetsie". And it just kind of stuck. Eventually, it got shortened to just "Pete". She doesn't seem to mind, I'm pretty much the only one who calls her that. Her mother might call her it every now and again but it's mostly ours and I love that about us. Some day I'll buy her a necklace that says "Pete" just like my dad got one that said "Squandolas" for my sister. (That's what he called Karen, I don't know why. I'm not sure if I even spelled that correctly.)

Most people know that Arden's name comes from Lynn's great, great Grandfather (Grandma Mary's father) Dr. John Ardin Younglove, DDS. We thought it would be easier on him if we changed the "I" in Ardin to an "E". (Take it from Zach with an "H" and not a "K".) And of course, his middle name is "Jay" after Homer J. Simpson. (Watch the Simpson scene here where we learn the origin of the J. in Homer's middle name.)

Arden's nickname, on the other hand, makes no sense at all. As a matter of fact, it was a nickname that I used to call Scooter the Dog when he was alive. And it just kind of morphed into what we called the baby.  I used to call Scooter "Mr. Gooze A. Goozington the 3rd" and he was my Goozie boy. I think it was a play on "Who's the goodest boy!" baby talk to the dog. And then Arden came along, and he was also my Goozie Boy. So we call him "Gooze" or "Mr. Gooze" or "Goozie". Everyone in the house calls him that. He loves it, we love it. I've even heard his grandmother call him that once or twice. I don't know how he'd take it if John Q. Public called him that though. He's pretty sensitive so who knows how he'd react. I'd love it if people called him Gooze. It just fits him so well. His online handle is "Stuxl" and I don't know where that came from. When I asked last, he couldn't remember, which means there's a story there. I just have to get it out of him.

I've never had my own real nickname, unless you count "Zack, Zack, the LEGO Maniac" as a nickname. (BTW, I hated that fucking commercial when it came out.) Lunchbox was sort of a nickname for a minute. Jebus still calls me that. But I still call him Jebus so I guess that makes us even. But feel free to use any of the nicknames I have bestowed upon the world. Gooze. Ro-may-oh. Petey. Sugar-Pussy. They're all fair game.

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