One Christmas season the Rockettes came to town. Actually a full holiday production complete with Rudolf, Santa, and Frosty came with them. One of Santa’s helpers was Bruce who must have been on hiatus from the Wizard of Oz. He was a fun munchkin kind of a guy who made everyone laugh even at things that weren’t really funny.

When we got a red mini SUV it picked up the name Bruce. Why it’s called a mini SVU, I don’t know. That seems so contradictory. It was a munchkin kind of a car so Bruce seemed so fitting. We still have the Bruce.

Before all the luggage restrictions and limitations Jason and Alison had a suitcase so large the Rockettes show Bruce would have fit in it. Once when they were in a San Antonio restaurant they met Ricky, one of the Mariachi band members. He was a really large almost out of place in a Mariachi band type person. On their trip home the suitcase was officially named Big Ricky. He traveled so much with the two of them he was monogramed with his nickname, Big Rick.

At 95 it was time for Flossy McAnally to moved out of her home and in with her son. We bought Miss Flossy’s house for Jason and Travis to live in while they were in college. It was built in 1950 and came with all the furniture she must have bought the same year. It had a pink and black bathroom and there wasn’t a single closet big enough to hold Big Rick. For obvious reasons this house with so much character became the Flossy House. The term Flossy morphed in to a descriptive term for gaudy, classy, cool, or outrageous depending on what’s being described or just a fill-in for a lack of an adjective.

People have nicknames too. William is Bill, Robert becomes Bob, and Elizabeth can be Liz, Beth or Betsy. I knew a towering tall guy named Shorty and a very heavy man called Slim. No wonder English is considered the most challenging language to learn.

Nicknames meant to be funny many times are mean and hurtful. Just ask anyone who picked one up as a kid. The saying, “Sticks and stones …” falls just short of being totally true and the effects can linger past grade school. Choose nicknames wisely, especially for kids. Some are best reserved for houses, cars and suitcases.

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