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Words and Music by David King

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Songs, fiction and the occasional recipe by David King

Nicknames

I’ve always had a knack for nicknames.  Or sobriquets if you want to elevate it to an Art form.  Early in life I was given the nickname “Wilbur”, a name I rejected but that didn’t matter.  My friends called me Wilbur, anyway.  You don’t ever get a choice with nicknames. 

Wilbur was a less than inspired nickname.  It was, in fact, a name that my Mother’s Uncle suggested as my given name; but my mother wasn’t having it.  I did, however, wind up being saddled with it after my mother related the story of her Uncle Wilbur to our next door neighbour in the presence of her son, Gary who happened to be my best friend.  That is, up until he began calling me Wilbur.  Thanks, Mom. 

I had already given Gary the nickname, Nibbler.  Because of the way he would eat around the edge of a certain cookie.  He didn’t want his mouth to come in contact with the jelly centre and so he nibbled around it, leaving the jelly centre for Starboy - real name Kevin Luciak .  Kevin had requested that we call him Starboy, and everyone more or less went along with it.  Mainly because we felt sorry for him after his cat got run over.  His cat was called Star Cat.  It derived its power from the distant Star, Canopus.  Evidently not enough power to avoid being run over.  Starboy, other hand,  derived his power from jelly centres.

Everyone had a nickname, even the High School had a nick name.  Fukami High.  Sometimes it was something random that generated the idea for a nickname.  There was this guy we called the Preacher after he said he wasn’t going to preach to us about the health effects of cigarette smoking.  And I said to my buddies, “I guess we’ll call him the Preacher.”   

It could have been considered a form of bullying.  But with a redeeming creative aspect to it.  I remember Nibbler was worried that he would be stuck with that name forever.  So immediately after graduating he moved to another part of town where everyone would get to know him as Gary.   But he persisted in eating those cookies with the jelly centre and someone gratuitously described his eating technique as nibbling.  A few weeks later, Nibbler moved to France.