i remember the day i gave up on my name
my dad had one middle name.
mum had two.
they gave me three and i added another one.
as far as i was concerned dad was pat or patrick, and in that great tradition they named me after him.
i was just slightly wrong. turns out he was really a henry. it also turns out that henry becomes harry boy and harry boy wasn't something dad liked to be called. so in a moment of great wisdom he decided that i should have a couple of names so i could choose the one i wanted. so between them they gave me a bunch of names.
all well and good.
but i am an easy going chap (stop spluttering there in the back rows) and found that i didn't really mind pat or patrick at all. besides i had more to worry about with the cruelty of kids giving me nicknames such as clarence, cyclops and fatty (the last not being too original). annoyingly as i have moved into adulthood i never really got that nickname that stuck and used by everyone – the closest i got was 'slam' which got used by the local newsagent and his mates because they saved me a copy of the uk basketball magazine, lucky really as they also saved me a copy of the teletubby magazine. i used to know a bloke who was so upset he didn't have a nickname he decided he would invent one for himself and instruct his staff to call him that. being a comics retailer he choose 'biff' it never really took off.
oh i get called cunt a lot – but i am not sure that is a nickname.
(as an aside i did go through that phase of wearing a number 6 badge but declaring i am not a number but a free man – all the while wearing a number, listen it made no sense then it makes less now. i was young and impressionable and looking for an identity).
back to the story.
i was happy being pat or patrick.
turns out that mum wasn't always so keen. in her eyes dad was big p i was little p, or sometimes just p, or paddy.
dad on the other hand had decided that little p, p, or paddy wasn't enough. using one of the other names they had given me i was w, bill, billy boy or will. just occasionally he would call me pat. i never quite understood how he could've gotten so worked up about what he was called but seemed oblivious to my wishes.
parents eh! which kid really understands them?
in the end i gave up being too concerned with being called pat or patrick – after all they are just convenient labels.
one thing it did teach me was try never to get someone's name wrong – it is their name at least do them the justice of trying to get it right and when in doubt there is always the standard fallbacks of 'geezer', 'mate', 'fellah'.
in my case i stopped worrying these days 'oi' will do.