Well as you might have imagined, having become enthralled with the conceit of nicknames, I just had to have one!
I was right handed, so I knew “Lefty” would be out……I like to think I am of average height, so “Stretch” would not do…. “Slim”…hmmm well I think I wasn’t quite that thin…. I had Dark hair so “Red” and “Whitey” were not going to work… Too young for a mustache…..
I just didn’t seem to have any predominant feature, habit, characteristic, or eccentricity that I could exploit for a nickname…. So, I tried to create a few.
I kind of always saw myself as a Cowboy..(Probably still do..even after being thrown into the side of a barn by a not quite broken horse.) And I had a lot of Cowboy stuff…So I started wearing the 10 Gallon hats, the boots, the 6 inch belt buckle, the fancy shirts and slickers ALL THE TIME! Even in blistering heat!… But No….no one started calling me “Cowboy”. (except little kids) Maybe “Jackass” might have caught on…but I also holstered a gun…so I didn’t hear any of that.
I loved sports, so I decided to throw everything sidearm. Baseballs, Footballs, even Snowballs…. I figured I might brand myself “Crossfire” for my efforts… Thankfully that did not happen.. Eventually I gave up.
Of course as tradition often dictates, as soon as you stop trying to make something happen, it does so on its own…. And sure enough in rapid succession I acquired two nicknames.
The first was “Champ”…a term usually accorded to a fighter that has earned the title…or one that has become punch drunk in his attempts. Although I had a successfully (Thankfully) short boxing career, neither case applied to me.
Not sure how it started, but…whenever someone needed an excuse, explanation, or some way out of a most difficult situation, they gave me a call and I would provide them with the necessary retort that would not only get them off the hook, but usually earned them either sympathy or praise, depending on the circumstance….. “Champ”….no doubt short for Champion Bullshiter. A dubious talent perhaps best suited for Blogging!!!
The second nickname took a bit of evolution…. I had a friend who believed himself to be a historian of the old Wild West. (Too bad he wasn’t around during my Cowboy days!) One day he insisted that I was the spittin image of Jesse James and started calling me “Jesse”… And it took. (In some circles.)
Now as it happened, I eventually saw pictures of Jesse James, and without a doubt I didn’t look anything like him!… However….. I was the spittin image of Tyrone Power AS Jesse James… so at least there is a seed of truth to the tale….
Well with a lot of folks calling me “Jesse” and a lot calling me “Ray” it’s kind of obvious how the two became bonded… So now there are a lot of people that know me as “Jesse”….”Ray”….”JesseRay”...."Nigel" (another story)…….and now “Raysie” - a name my wife made up just so I could have an identity unique to our relationship..
But there days with User Names and Handles proliferating the Net, everyone has multiple nick names!…. Although something like “Joe74561” doesn’t have much of a ring to it.