Humans like to name things.
Well, often it’s more like renaming things. People give their newborns, hopefully, well thought out and meaningful names and then call them something else. How many Juniors do you know? Or they use the second name, something I have never understood. It is usually relatives and friends who assign nicknames which over time become permanent. Think Buddy, Bubba, Babe, Rusty, some twisted version of their given name or last name.
Most of us have given pet names to others, some silly, some weird. And, I am sure, we have all, from time to time, been called by pet names. I remember once when I was a teenager my mother answered the phone and the boy I was dating, thought it was me, so trying to be all grown up, suave and debonair like Clark Gable, in a low, sultry voice answered, “Well, hello sexy.”
My mother was not amused and was actually quite offended, demanding why he would call me that? I thought it was hilarious because it was not something he would ever say to my face but with the safety and distance of a telephone he got a little brave, which sounds really archaic considering technology today. The best part was the next time he came to pick me up for a date – awkward.
Usually pet names are affectionate but sometimes nicknames are unintentionally hurtful and we need to be careful with Tiny, Big Guy, Slim, Shorty, Miss Piggy and the like. Like many people, I have “pet” names for some folks that I am sure they might be offended by but that’s a whole other story.
We give slang names, nicknames or whatever you want to call them to just about everything. Some people name their cars, truck, boats, bikes, body parts…
None of this is new, been done for centuries. Many nationalities have been given nicknames. I am of Belgian descent and often heard the term Buffaloes being used to describe immigrants from Belgium. I have done some research and, although there are a few ideas, no one seems to know why. I don’t recall it being considered a derogatory slur like what the Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Italians, Dutch, etc. were called.
It seems to be strictly a human condition although there is no proof that the bull elephant isn’t called Chief by the others or the littlest money isn’t called Squirt by his family or antelope are running around calling buffaloes Belgians.
Even generations have been named. With some research I discovered those born between 1871 to 1889 are called New Worlders; 1890 to 1908 Hard Timers; 1909 – 1928 Good Warriors or the G.I Generation; 1929 - 1945 The Lucky Few or the Silent Generation; 1946 to 1964 Baby Boomers; 1965 to 1979 – Generation X; 1980s to 2000 New Boomers, Millennials or Generation Y and 2001 to present Generation Z or the New Silent Generation.
All names are based on the economic times, legacy from previous generations, values, technology and the like. Somewhere in there was the Sandwich Generation which was those caring for children and parents at the same time.
I don’t really mind being called a Boomer. Each generation has earned the designation by dealing with what is going on around them and what they were handed by their parents, teachers, etc. If you read up on it, it makes sense. But I do not like the label Zoomer – Boomers with Zip. This divides us. It seems to me like a them vs. us scenario, those who do and those who don’t (or can’t), denoting some are better than others. And it is based not on healthy lifestyle, but solely on making money. If you ascribe to being a Zoomer you will buy this, go there, do that, want that, be that, think that and that puts more money in the pocket of someone else. It’s like we are expected to act like teenagers again following the trends rather than thinking for ourselves.
And isn’t it Zoomers who decided to put Conrad Black on TV with a talk show? I sure wouldn’t want any part of that bunch.