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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

For some reason, work conversation this morning turned to nicknames acquired in college. Combined with my impending reunion, it got me to thinking of all the nicknames my friends and acquaintences in college had.

My college nickname? I’m afraid those records are classified.*

I’m going strictly by memory, and given that it’s 10 to 15 years in the past, there’s bound to be gaps, misspellings and less-than-accurate recollections. If I’ve excluded anyone, or gotten anything wrong, it’s not intentional. Any Eckerd alums coming across this can feel free to chime in.

I’m also going to (mostly) exclude nicknames that are just diminutives of the full names, just because they aren’t as colorful. So I’m not forgetting J.C., JayRay, Neeck, Gordo, Jimbo and the like, but I am overlooking them here.

In no particular order, with nickname, real name, origin story, and impressions:

“Deuce” - Rick Neverdousky. A shortened portion of his last name.

Not a close friend, but we usually managed to be in the same places at the same times. One of the cheesiest individuals I’d ever met, and the amount of tail he scored despite (or perhaps because of?) that just absolutely killed me.

“Schmu” - Christopher Casey. Shortened from “Shamu”, as in the killer whale. Bestowed in the aftermath of a canoe race where he and his rowing partner managed to flip their craft about 10 seconds after starting, and remained waterlogged the whole rest of the way. (The partner was granted the nickname “Flipper”, of which there’s more below.)

One of my oldest friends, former roommate during and after college. Now lives in Washington, DC, so communication is more sporadic.

“Flipper” - Jason Bauer. See the origin of “Schmu”, above. Not to be confused with “Flip”, another campus regular (more below). I believe Jason once mentioned to me that he would have preferred getting “Schmu” instead, but what can you do…

Former college roommate. Fun guy, good friend, tended to be a lousy drunk to have around. I spent many a Mobile Mardi Gras at his family home during the ’90s. We’ve drifted apart over the past few years.

“Adge” - A.J. Joseph. A shortening/mashing of A.J. (which would tend to give you something pronounced “age”, but that would be stupid, so this was the solution).

Former roommate, right out of college. Good guy, full of confidence, a bit on the goofy side. He was living in town and working at Eckerd until recently; I’ve heard he’s since moved to Colorado.

“Slim” - Real name unknown. Origin of nickname unknown, although since he was pretty thin, I assume the name just fit.

A dormmate during my first semester in my freshman year. I never knew him particularly well, but for some reason I remember him. He was part of a group of guys in the dorm who left in the middle of that school year, under a mysterious cloud. I seem to recall something about drug dealing. My mentions of him over the next couple of years to mutual acquaintences would always elicit remarks of, “Slim? That dog.”; never sought an expansion on that.

“Weasel” - Don’t remember real name, something Hispanic. Had kind of a little-guy weasel look about him, not as much so personality-wise.

I never knew him very well, but we had mutual friends. He graduated after my Sophomore year. Seemed like a nice enough guy.

“Bear” - Mark Bonfiglio. Derived mainly from his hirsute nature. I heard at one point that he wanted to have “Fig” as his nickname, but it never stuck.

Good guy, always very inclusive in social gatherings. I remember his room as the focal point of dorm activity. He married Kat, his college sweetheart, and moved to Colorado and Ohio after graduation. We’ve traded infrequent emails since.

“Woody” - Chris Bell. The story I was given was that during a party, he and Kat (above) were dancing, when Kat pulled away, giggling, and declared, “He’s got a woody! He’s got a woody!”. The presence of other Chrises in the social group also led to the necessity of a nickname.

Funny fellow. He was Bear’s roommate, so we hung out a lot in his room, playing Nintendo and wasting time. The last I heard, years ago, was that he was living in Atlanta.

“Flip” - Don’t remember real name, maybe John-something. I think inspired by the beach visors, with the flipped-up lids, that he often wore.

Never knew him particularly well. He was part of the regular volleyball-playing crew that always congregated behind the dorms or at the beach. He went out for a long stretch with a girl named Danyelle, on whom I had a running low-level crush (I remember her being almost ideal, physically, with dark tan, long brown hair and a slim figure); and so, I was jealous of him.

“Rambo” - David Downing. His military family background, involvement in ROTC and general fondness of militaria got him the name.

Nice enough guy. I don’t think he was ever completely comfortable in his own skin. He was always the responsible one, in that while the rest of us got trashed, he’d be relied upon to get us home in one piece. He relished the role, but I always felt like we took advantage of that. I think he went overseas after graduation; we met up again a few years ago, but I don’t remember what he had been up to.

“Jazzy” - Jeff, don’t remember his last name. No specific origin for the nickname, other than a love for hip-hop.

My next-door neighbor during my freshman year. Another active volleyballer. He was from the Florida Panhandle, a real cracker, but immersed in black culture. Usually very low-key, but a bit more excitable when drunk. I believe I heard he moved to Tennessee to work at FedEx after graduation, and got married to his college girlfriend.

“Floyd” - John Briggs. Shorthand for “Pretty Boy Floyd”, bestowed to him after he was caught preening too long in front of a mirror. Also got a secondary nickname, “Pedro”, after he walked around the dorm one night wearing a Mexican-style poncho.

Roommate of Jazzy’s, and thus also my dorm neighbor my first year. New Yorker, bodybuilder. Nice guy, although I can’t say much else about him stands out now. I ran into him shortly after I graduated, here in St. Pete, but I lost touch soon thereafter.

“Suds” - Greg Suddath. Derived from his last name, and from his copious beer guzzling (not that he was unique in that).

Never knew him too well, but he was a fixture at parties, and always noticable. Lived in Hiaassen House, pretty much a jock dorm, and the neighboring male dorm in my complex during my freshman year.

“Heckler” - Justin, don’t remember last name. Reflective of his wise-ass personality. He originally got “Flounder” hung on him, derived from the Animal House character; he somehow managed to drop it. However, I couldn’t seem to let go of it for a long while afterward, and even now sometimes refer to him as “Flounder”.

A born prankster. Jersey kid, slightly rich, something of a ladies’ man. I would run into him every so often after graduation, and I think he still lives a few miles away from me, but I haven’t seen him in a couple of years now.

“Puppet” - Greg, don’t remember last name. Don’t remember how he got the name, although I guess he sort of had a puppet-like countenance.

Sort of casual acquaintence throughout college. Most memorable moment with him was sharing a 24-hour van drive north from St. Petersburg to New York, where I was dropped off while he and another guy kept going into New England. Lost track after graduation.

“Oaf” - John O’Flanagan. Shortened fragment of his last name; not so much his personality.

Boston native, with the accompanying accent. Part of a neighboring clique, hung out at parties and such. His sister, Jennie, was a heartbreaker.

“Mel” - Richard, don’t remember last name. Given to him due to a passing resemblance to a young Mel Gibson.

Nice guy, never knew him particularly well. Part of the extended group we all hung out in.

“Goose” - Don’t remember real name. Don’t remember the origin, although I have a feeling it was based off his real name somehow.

Truthfully, I barely remember him now. We were dormmates my Sophomore year, and he often hung out in the halls. I think he might have been a computers major.

“Ears” - Erin Kelly. Due to his noticably big ears, also partially off his first name.

Bombastic guy, fun at parties. I actually got an apartment with him and his girlfriend, Margaret, the summer between my Sophomore and Junior years. I think he went to med school after graduation, but I lost track after that.

“Zooey” - Dave Branigan. Not sure how he acquired the nickname; may have been related to his party-animal behavior (animal suggesting zoo).

A guy in my Freshman orientation class/Western Heritage class. Pretty much treated college life as a playground, and dropped out after his first year. I always had a suspicion that he would come back our Senior year, but he never did.

*Actually, I didn’t have a nickname in college. My name’s unique enough.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/13/2004 11:17:35 PM
Category: College Years | Permalink |

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  1. So, girls don’t get nicknames or what?

    Comment by r* — 10/14/2004 @ 09:22:09 AM

  2. I thought about that… Generallly, they didn’t; seemed to be more of a guy thing. But now that I think of it, there was one girl I remember getting a nickname, and I forgot to include her. I’ll amend the list later tonight.

    Comment by CT — 10/14/2004 @ 09:55:52 AM

  3. […] Tsiokos Thursday, October 14, 2021 NICKNAMES FOR THE LADIES My little rundown of college nicknames was, as R* pointed out […]

    Pingback by Population Statistic — 10/14/2004 @ 11:39:36 PM

  4. Seems like most of the guys I knew who had nicknames, aquired them in Autumn Term. A full three weeks with only freshman getting drunk everyday will do that. Here is a list of names I remember: Wild Bill, Asshole Bill, Generic Bill, Billy Mac, Scoot, Fish, Booger, Sewer, Fat Rick, Zero, O-B, Holls. I’m sure I’ll remeber more later.

    Comment by Jesse Turtle — 10/15/2004 @ 09:42:56 AM

  5. Thumning through my mental file cabinet I do recall a few names. Scott Linnenburger’s name was shortened to Linny; a guy named House (I believe a derivitive of his last name); Tommy Miller was Tomcat and we called his best friend Dan Jeffres “Dan Theman” after I left Tom a note that Dan “The Man” was looking for him he later told me he tried to call this Dan guy but the EC phone listings did not have a “Theman” listed; The only female nickname I can remember was a student we called “Farmer” because she was always out “ho”-ing; The only other one that springs to mind is a student that became known as “Dickie”. People often wonder why you would go by that name but I contend you really don’t have much choice when it becomes a nickname. He got it because we decided that there were too many Richards to keep track of. On a final note: Puppet is Greg Pierce and he is a local. After law school he moved back to St. Pete and started a company in Tampa (API). Goose is Craig Rose and the last I heard he was a PhD researcher at FIU (Marine Biology?). I also remembered that we liked to call Rambo, Dazzeling Diamond Dave Downing because it really annoyed him and we wanted to see if he would snap.

    Comment by Richard Anderson — 10/15/2004 @ 10:45:55 AM

  6. I did think of House, but I remember absolutely nothing about him. In fact, at first I got him confused with Oaf. So I left him off.

    Thanks for refreshing me on Goose and Puppet. And I don’t remember Farmer, but if she’s at the reunion, you’ll have to introduce me ;)

    I think Jesse’s right about Autumn Term being the perfect gestation time for nicknames: You’re in a new environment, forming new relationships, etc. A new identity via nickname is natural (whether you want it or not).

    Comment by CT — 10/15/2004 @ 01:48:06 PM

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