NICKNAMES--.

Discussion in 'Vietnam Stories: By John H. Wilborn' started by Guest, Feb 25, 2003.

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    J. Wilborn
    Posts: 63
    (2/22/01 5:01:49 pm)
    Reply NICKNAMES--.
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    NICKNAMES
    I suppose that if you were to investigate nicknames, be it for persons, places, or things, the subject may seem to take on a life of it’s own so to speak. For instance, all short men are not nicknamed SHORTY--all tall men are not STRETCH--all matronly and abundantly rotund ladies are not called TONY. I think you can see what I’m getting at--nicknames sometimes are meant to ridicule--if you’re feeling mean and onery at times, and want to mix it up with someone, just go ahead--be uncivil--that old fellow ahead of you in line at the market, who’s fumbling for his change, may not want to be called GRANDPA. He’ll reassure you in short order that you’re no realtive of his--that his parents were married--your’s weren’t.
    In the American Navy, especially the Seabees who are construction workers, plain and simple, nicknames abound. Some of those handles are for the extraordinary talents the person may possess--a good carpenter can be named CHIPS for wood chips--an electrician is more than likely SPARKY-- a plumber is CHASER in mixed company--other times TURDCHASER. The old navy cooks will inevitably be STEW or STEWBURNER-- of course DOC is the label for the corpsman, doctors, dentists. If any of you watch the television show of JAG, you see a lot of military applications there--petty officer so and so--senior chief this or that--that’s good and I suppose at a lot of commands it are that way. I’ve been gone from the Navy now for thirty years this month and like I said, we were constuction workers--not so much on formality--we were butt-breakers on the work load though--bet your life we told everyone too!
    When a Navy enlisted person advances to paygrade E-7, that individual will then be addressed as CHIEF--perhaps you had worked with this same man for months--know him for years, and no matter what his nickname had been, good or bad, it was supposed to go by the wayside--this person was now CHIEF so and so--. It just so happens that it is a difficult thing to do--change quickly--for years this live, go-to-hell person you knew better than your own kin stopped being STUBBY or ACE or SLICK---you hardly knew his surname. Every Rhodes you ever knew was DUSTY or Knight was RAINY--suddenly proper military protocol demanded you address this newly advanced Chief Petty Officer as Chief DUSTY or Chief RAINY---it did look like a problem for you so you started evading the new Chief--the Chief noticed it also --you had been drinking buddies--shared everything--now he’s moved all his gear up to the CPO Quarters--eats in the CPO Mess--dresses differently with a new style hat and all. You begin to feel like a ‘woods-colt’ at a family reunion--that means bastard--did’nt know how to spell that illigit word. Life suddenly has got so complicated for you--when the Chief comes around, it is almost like the PADRE (Chaplain) showing up--you watch your language--you don’t smart off any more about how old and inept the Chiefs are--you don’t even unload about the officers.
    The other lower rated men who still work for you have noticed your dilemma---JONESY and BLACKY and SMITTY-- and then there was TUBES who just the other day claimed you didn’t have any brass ones any longer--that you were running scared of the CHIEF--oh, by the way, TUBES picked up his nickname when he first reported on board a year before--he was just a know-it-all kid who was sent over to Central Tool Room for a yard of fallopian tube--the tool crib petty officer picked up on the joke and sent him to the galley--there the STEWBURNER sent him to sickbay--TUBES had been so anxious to please--he was about ready to fight for the fallopian tube--finally the old Chief Hospital Corpsman named NEEDLE-DICK--just NEEDLE in mixed company, had told TUBES he was being initiated into the Navy humor mill--to report back to TURDCHASER--- that NEEDLE didn’t appreciate having his valuable time wasted--that he was playing pinochle with the corpsman LUCKY and ACEY-DUCEY and SLEEVE. Wilborn