Readers share their favorite nickname stories
In order to look sophisticated for college, I gave myself a perm. The only effect it had on my red hair was to make it look wild and unruly. One day, a classmate asked if I had tried out for the Olympics. I told her no. She said, “Well, you’d make a great torch.” I’ve been Torch ever since.
—Denise S. Bright
In the Army, I was stationed with a guy named Swamper, short for Swampbilly. He explained that he was called that because “they ain’t no hills in Alabama.”
—Douglas C. Atkins
Friends of ours had a daughter who went by Mac. Curious, I asked her parents, “How did you come up with Mac?” They replied, “Middle-age Carelessness.”
—William Gent culpeper, virginia
I was called Charlie Brown as a kid because I used to collect Peanuts books. Then it evolved into something else. While in high school and college, I ran for office 22 times and came in second (read: last) each time. Then one year, I coached a baseball team that finished the season 2–18. One of those victories was by forfeit. Charlie Brown, it turned out, was a perfect fit.
—Dale Hardy indianapolis, indiana
“Garage.” My Italian immigrant grandfather had a hard time with “Gerard.”
— Gerard Frognone ramona, california