Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Are you familiar with these nicknames?

DDE, HST, Dubyah, Bill and Hill, Tricky Dick, Silent Cal, Ike, FDR, The Great Communicator, RMN, etc.

Actually, they are “nicknames” for some of our Presidents.

What is a “nickname”?

nick·name [ník nàym]
n (plural nick·names)
1. invented name: an invented name for somebody or something, used humorously or affectionately instead of the real name and usually based on a conspicuous characteristic of the person or thing involved

Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Some “nicknames” are complimentary or endearing; some pejorative; some “downright mean”; e.g. “Slick Willie”, or "Tricky Dick".

I mentioned in an earlier post, the nicknames GI’s used for General MacArthur: "Backtrack Mac", and "Dugout Doug". There were others for MacArthur, as well as for the presidents named.

Why am I called “Mike”, when my name is “Myron”?

Well, when I was 8 or 9 years old, a next door neighbor named "Charlie" called to me one day and said, “Hey Mike”. I looked around to see to whom he was speaking. It was I. Little by little, the name stuck, and I’ve used it ever since.

Why not tell everyone that my name is “Myron”? Actually, I’ve never liked it very much. I was never told where my mother got the name, but I’ve always had it, and it’s mine. When I introduce myself generally, it is “Mike”. Family members say that when someone calls me “Myron”, you know they MIGHT be from Mechanicsburg, and not necessarily friends. Actually, my sister-in-law Doris pronounces my name, "Myron". more accurately than anyone - even Jean.

One of my childhood friends called me “Myronie”. And, someplace along the early years, it was “Mynie”. Jean called me that when we were dating, and for some time after that. Her high school friends called me that also. Later, of course, Jean went to “honey”; “Dad”; “Grandpa”; and finally, "Mike".

When I was in about the second grade, my mother bought a pair of “knickers” for me, that were obviously too large. Unfortunately, I wore them to school. So, the sixth and seventh grade boys started calling me “Two-pants” at school. I don’t think I wore them much.

Endearing? Or Pejorative? I never knew.

When T. W. Thompson, one of my favorite school teachers retired, the Lions Club in town (Mechanicsburg), held a celebration for him. Though I no longer lived in town, I was invited to represent some of his former pupils, and say a few kind words. The Emcee - Don Bradley, who was a local businessman and President of the local bank, introduced me simply, by saying, “Here’s Mynie Maddex!”

When my Army outfit was in New Guinea during World War II, we had a baseball team. I tried out for Shortstop and/or Second base, and used the nickname of PeeWee - after baseball great, PeeWee Reese. I wasn’t very good with “grounders” in high school, I remember, but in that outfit I went after EVERY ground ball that came my way, and I found out that a determination to get that ball paid off. (I wasn’t a very good batter, though.)

When I joined the Moody Bible Institute in 1954, of course, my name was “Myron”. That was true. However, I found a part-time job with a radio repairman/installer named Bob Werner. I gave him the name of “Mike”.

A confusing factor at MBI was that a fellow worker there was named Miron. We discussed our individual spellings, and he said his dad named him "Miron", instead of "Myron", because he wanted his name to be pronounced "Myern" (like "iron")instead of the traditional "My-run". Didn't work, though, at least at MBI. He was called "My-run", the same as I. Now we had two "My-runs". (Maybe it WAS better that I was Mike.)

One Sunday morning when I was on duty at WMBI there, Werner called the studios and asked to speak to “Mike Maddex”. Sam Paxton, the announcer who answered the phone said, “Who’s Mike Maddex?” Of course, I answered, and used my nickname ever after that. (So did Sam!)

Sometimes, using a nickname officially causes confusion. I just automatically say my name is Mike, without thinking. The same thing was true for Jean, whose real name was Wilma Jean Maddex.

The nickname won’t work for Insurance, Medicare, etc. I have to remember to use the “proper” name. In the doctor’s office, they call me “Mike”, since that’s what I gave them. However, in Insurance billing, I’ve had to be sure to use “Myron B. Maddex”, and “Wilma J. Maddex”. Confusing to other people. I have to be careful.

I like nicknames, though. They’re generally shorter than the real name, and in some cases, are endearing, or friendly.

I used to say, “Call me anything but late for chow”.

Did you ever think of Jesus having "nicknames"?

How about Isaiah 9:6? “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His Shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

We also read of him being called “Saviour”; “Lord”; “Christ”; and other God-given names.

If you want to get my attention, say, “Hey Mike!” I’ll probably answer.

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