photo credit: http://www.new-ulm.mn.us
There are two kinds of people in the world: those without nicknames, and those with them. I've always been a nickname girl. From birth until about the time I was cusping into adulthood my sisters called me Squirt. I begrudged my niece and nephew when my oldest sister started calling them Squirt. None of my sisters had nicknames, apart from the winter our middle sister was referred to as Thistle because of her split ends. (Candi got the last laugh as she now has really good hair.) My dad called me Herman, or Herman the German when he was in an affable mood. He also named all of his cats Herman, so maybe he was suffering from memory issues and found it easiest to just duplicate the moniker. Dad's high school nickname was Swede Johnson, just as his dad, my grandpa, was so named.
Over the years I've answered to names that described my personality, such as Skid during the summer I was covered in road rash from my occasionally unsuccessful yet daring horse and bicycle feats, or Extreme during the winters I biked through blizzards to get to work. T calls me LPJ, an acronym from Little Patty Johnson, which is what my priest called me the day I missed the Girl Scout parade because of a broken shoe.
I've got nicknames for T and my daughter (we've called her Pooh since she was a baby, a name I first heard in Al Franken's little known and very under appreciated movie One More Saturday Night). We often call our cats Olive and Oskar "Kitty" (or Maude) and "Buddy." But why do some of us get nicknames and some do not? Wise Wikipedia to the rescue. Here is their account.