Several years ago, Chris mentioned the father of one of Hugh’s Little League teammates in an anecdote he was telling me.  Since teams were made up of kids from a variety of schools and neighborhoods, many of the other baseball parents were people we had just met.  Keeping them straight could be confusing.

So I interrupted Chris’s story to say, “Wait, which one is Theo’s father?  What does he look like?”  And Chris said “He looks like a hammer….” (I pictured the tool – thinking WHAT?) “dulcimer player.”  LIGHT BULB!  I instantly knew who he meant – Theo’s dad was the guy with the long white hair, wire-rims, and droopy mustache. 

To this day, we still refer to “the hammer dulcimer player,” even though Theo’s dad is actually an IT guy.  We haven’t seen him for years and have forgotten his real name, which I think is French.  In our short-hand, other people we don’t really know except by sight are referred to quickly as ”you know, the scurvy pirate” (skinny guy with long ponytail, always seen at Trader Joe’s) and “the woman who runs like this” with a quick imitation of her head bend and pumping elbows.  Then there’s Storm Drain Guy, a skinny man we all see, at different times, always out walking in the neighborhood, always near the same giant puddle where a storm drain is blocked.  Chris suggested he lives in the drain, thus causing the blockage…thus earning the name.

As a friend of mine often says, “We’re not being mean!”   We’re just trying to cut to the chase and eliminate long, wordy descriptions.  These nicknames are absolutely efficient….and they make life more entertaining and amusing.  

If you’re curious, check out this video of an actual hammer dulcimer player.  And I’d love to hear any nicknames you have for those in your life, either dearly beloved or total strangers.

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