Saturday, September 5, 2015

Pet Names

I enjoy naming things.

I have a name for every houseplant that survives over a year. Despite having no intention of ever becoming a parent, I still keep a list of human names that I would enjoy naming a child (so, future parents out there, consult me first if you're struggling for a name for your little one). Sometimes I won't publish a blog post until I've cooked up just the right witty title (like this one—don't miss the double meaning that will become clear as you read on!) I once spent a week and a half mulling over what to call my rabbit

It had to be the perfect name, because after all, you only get to name your rabbit once, right? Wrong. The thing that occurred to me today is, I cannot seem to stop myself from serial nicknaming every animal that walks into my life. 

I name pets after their species – Hansel is, accordingly, "Rabbity Boy" – and their obvious attributes – "Fur Boy" – and then when I get bored with these elementary appellations, I start adding suffixes — like "Rabbitrocious."

I name pets after their names—Hansel is also "Handsome," Jack Jack is also "Jackelope." Junior became "Jujubee"; Pumpkin, "Sweet Punky Doodle"; Tierra, "Erra-erra-erra," and on it goes. 

I have a whole arsenal of nicknames based on traits that I find annoying. Hansel is also known as "Piglet," thanks to his enormous appetite. Jack Jack, who is a holy terror, gets the special title of "Little Stupid Stupid," inspired by a hilariously censored radio version of a Big Sean song (sadly, I could not find that version on the Internet).

I name pets after the sounds they make (Past ones were "Gromble", "Yomble", "Chuffles," and "Squee", for example) and then go on to develop variations (including "Grombeezler," "Yombat," "Chuffle-uffagus," and "Peebles & Squeeps").

I even nickname my friends' pets. My former housemate's cat, Nox, was, to me at least, all sorts of things including "Mr. Knick-Nox." And my current housemates' dog, Petey, is (only in my mind), Peetricia.

I just can't seem to stop. Whenever a word for my pets pops into my head, I feel compelled to adopt it into permanent usage. For every one of the innumerable pets I've had over the years, I probably have at least 3 alternate names. 

Weirdly, I never give nicknames to people—I rarely even use accepted shortened names. Even my boyfriend doesn't get anything except the most tame variations of common terms of endearment. You can't nickname a person without risking the possibility of causing offense, so I think the main reason I keep my indefatigable nickname engine restricted to animals only is that, unlike people, a pet won't object no matter what you call it. Remember "Booger Kitten," anyone?

Probably not. I don't think most people (except my family, who probably had a hand in creating many of the nicknames mentioned here) know of any of these, I wonder if this is really something everyone does—hoard a secret library of alternative names for their animals, that only get used behind the safety of closed doors?

What do you say, readers? Do your pets get new aliases every month like mine? And if so, what are they?


LORI said...

Yes this is another trait that I can claim you inherited from me! You will , of course, remember my first dog, Pepita, who went by the name of Pepitablackewhiteysnoopysnoffysobakaspotspookiespotitipsytopsyturveyteresanoselyrosieposeypoppypuppypuddlespikkapoonippershagathalilyelizabetharieslassiedogieklutzymuttsyjanewoofannfayhuttonthefirstandonly.