What’s in a name?

A lot of food refrences in the title one of this post. It was a nickname given to me by my spazzy little sister and her perfectly proportioned spazzy little friends when they were in high school.

The food refrences? Total coincidence.

But there have been others.



Bartlobitch (homage to my twelve letter Polish maiden name)

Barfsomemoreguts (this particular introduction was an amazing way to make new friends)


Barkalarkalarkawicz (*sigh*)

Now, finally, at the tender age of 32, I am mostly known as Jo. Not my given name, because Joanna, though I do love the name, sort of makes me feel pretentious and stuffy, and I have at least another decade before I am either of those things.

But despite my own often unpleasant experiences with nicknames, I have always been a sucker for them.

Rarely have I honored others’ birth certificates and called them by their full names. I am always looking to shorten them. Used to be because it was cute. Now, as a full time mom, teacher, and wife, it’s mostly to shave off precious seconds as I’m barking orders at people.

When my best friend was pondering names for her still in-utero little girl, my greatest concern was what her nickname was going to be. When she finally settled on naming her after a famous California University (NOT UCLA) I had to go home and really give it some thought before settling on one that I was happy with. Four years later, I still don’t know how to spell her full name correctly and don’t really give a darn.

When our oldest son was born seven years ago, his name had been picked out carefully, with a lot of love and forethought. The whole package, first, middle, last, flowed nicely, rolling off the tongue and pleasantly coming to an end with a soft “n.” Five seconds after I met him, I blurted out “monchichi” not knowing where the hell that came from and learning only months later that it was the name of some popular 80’s childrens’ monkey-like toy. ????? But it felt right and it sounded right and he has been Monchichi ever since.

Oh. And let’s not forget the benefit of being bilingual. Because for every english language nickname, you better believe there is an equally adorable/humiliating/random one in Polish. Monchichi is often referred to as “dziubek” (translated as the beak from a bird), and “dupus” (a cute way of saying little ass….no, really).

Superman came about because of, obviously, his fascination with superheros and donning caped costumes. He currently also responds to “E,” “Monkey,” and on occassion,


No one is safe. Everyone I meet gets christened with a new moniker, whether or not they ask for one. My husband. My sister. My next door neighbor. What is this fascination with calling people by something other than the name they were given?? Almost all of us do it. Just the other day, while I was engaging in quality television (aka Tori and Dean on Oxygen) I heard them repeatedly refer to their kiddos as “ladybug” and “monkey.” And I loved it. Especially when Tori went even further and shortened her daughter to “bugs.” So Sweet! I mean, her birth name Stella ain’t so bad either, but BUGS! You can’t beat it!

So……what do you call the people in your life?

Are you the Jane’s and Matt’s and Laura’s of the world? Or do you go by something a bit…..less traditional?

Like Mad Cobra, or Sistah Soldier, or……..Stretch?

Because your name says a lot about you my friends.

And for some reason, ever since “Barfsomemoreguts” was replaced with “Jo” I have a lot more love, tolerance and success in my life.

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3 Replies to “"Johannesburgesusfrijolestortillas"”

  1. Haha, I have a worse habit than that, I discard people's names entirely and go straight to the terms of endearment. There's a word in Urdu- Jaan, which is pronounced almost exactly like 'John,' but means 'life.' So when you call someone Jaan, it means they are your life. My husband is Jaan. My son is Jaan. My daughter is Jaaanu (little Jaan). My sister is darling, or hamburger. Most of my friends are 'Sir.' I think it's a Peanuts thing moreso than it is military. But I often remember this one cheesy joke- an old man and wife are at a restaurant, and their conversation is infused with terms of endearments- Darling, pass the salt. Sure sweetheart, would you like some water? Of course Luv, etc etc.

    The old woman gets up to use the bathroom, and the waiter comes in to comment- How nice to see you two still so in love with one another! And the old man replies, In Love? Oh no, it's just that I can't remember her name anymore.


  2. Sadly I've been called Jenny-Pooh since I was a baby. My brother likes to just skip the Jenny and call me "Pooh". It was really fun when I picked him up from the airport where he yelled "Awww I missed my POOOOOOOH". Lots of stares ensued.

    My huby calls me "JJ". That's about it. I too love Tori's nicknames for her kids. Monkey and Ladybug? Can you get any cuter?

    PS: I will take FULL credit for "Bartobitch" thankyouverymuch!

  3. I would like to say that I will take full credit for giving your eldest son the nickname "dupus".

    I would also like to take full credit for nick-naming your youngest son "E", "Ian-ski", "Dude", "Dude-ski" "Stink bomb, booger bomb, booger-booger, butt bomb…(pause) butt bomb". And yes, its pronounced just like that.

    Thank You,

    Yours Truly,

    "You're over it" 😉

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