Wednesday, September 27, 2006

days of eeyore

Every once in a while of late, I've been getting hit with a little wave of sadness that I lack, in the moment, a nickname.

It's tough to shorten a one-syllable name, I'll admit, and my given name does not lend itself to er, nicking. Nicknames also are not always a welcome adjunct to life. I am probably wholly responsible for an entirely new generation of non-St. Louisans knowing my best friend by her nickname rather than her beautiful given name, and I will most likely continue to apologize for that until we're too old to remember there was ever an option.

My husband uses his full given name at work, but it's nearly impossible for me to remember to address him as such when in the presence of office colleagues, leading to innumerable blank stares and forced laughter about the confusion his dual nomenclated status confers.

Regardless, I never really had a nickname beyond those created by my family. One cousin's initials (prior to her marriage) spelled a homophone for my name, and that became her nickname before I was born, so in order to avoid confusion, that part of the family often used my first and last name to address me. On the other side of the family, the same moniker got adopted for...well, frankly, I haven't the slightest idea why, but it did. All the same, since full name address is generally reserved (when one is young) for those moments when one is really seriously in trouble and I mean it young lady, it never struck me as the kind of thing I should spread as a nickname. Fine from family, but way too formal for friends.

My parents have a pet name for each other that got diminuted (clearly I'm making up words here, but I don't care) for me. They call each other Boo, after a long-retired pantyhose commercial (, really), and thus they called me Baby Boo. They rarely employ it now, I admit, but if I sign a birthday card that way, they don't wonder who sent it.

However, I am also, or was also, Lele -- since, with a name like mine, you can't shorten it to make an endearment, might as well double it. It's been ages and ages since anyone had reason to call me by this particular nickname, and recently, I'd started to miss it.

It seems a silly thing, really, to reminisce about a nickname. There are so many other terms of endearment that get used regularly -- my husband and I rarely address each other by name -- but only a nickname is particular to an individual. And so, occasionally, I found myself sighing that I wish someone, anyone, would have a reason to reinstate my nickname. Or, perhaps, bestow upon me a new one.

This morning I was sitting at the computer reading my morning news items when a small window popped up on my screen:

Jim: Hey boo bear.
Me: !!!
Jim: I thought of that on my way to work today. "Lele the Boo."
Me: Hee! I like it.

I never told him I wanted a nickname.

I guess I didn't have to.

And I have to say? I'm pretty darn happy being his Boo Bear.

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