Nicknames can be real funny or real serious. It all depends on so many factors. You could say, for example, that Lt. General George S. Patton had a serious name: Old Blood and Guts. According to his troops, his nickname meant, “Our blood, his guts.”
Alexander was called “The Great.” He was a conqueror of nations and built a vast empire.
King Richard the Lionheart: Now there is a name for someone strong and brave.
“Old Ironsides” was the nickname for the U.S.S. Constitution. The warship was so well built that cannonballs were said to bounce off its sides. It was unsinkable.
Molly Brown, she was “Unsinkable.” She was one of the survivors when the Titanic sunk in April 1912. She was a brave lady who helped keep the lifeboat survivors’ spirits up, until they could be rescued.
Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, was known as “The Great Emancipator.” He kept this country together during some of its darkest days.
My name sounds so formal: Bernard Addison. It sounds businesslike. But what about my nickname, “Boo Boo”? What does it remind you of: Yogi Bear’s little sidekick as they raided picnic baskets in Jellystone Park? I hope you remember the cartoons. How did I get such a nickname? Why? I don’t know. It was my great grandmother’s idea. She was always giving us names that suited her.
I asked my relatives many times how she decided on what to call us. They would only say that my great grandmother had her own system and no one questioned it. I guess she did not like Bernard, so I became Boo Boo. Too bad for me, the name stuck like glue!
I was on a baseball team during my early teens. I remember the coach saying one day, “I have a Moo Moo, a Goo Goo, and a Boo Boo on my team. Can you imagine a baseball announcer calling a game? We are in the field and there is one out and a man on first base. The batter hits the ball to the shortstop. The announcer says … There is a ground ball hit too short. Moo Moo picks it up, flips the ball to Goo Goo covering second base, and he fires it to Boo Boo at first. Double play, inning over!”
One of my friends from junior high and high school wore thick eyeglasses. His nickname was “Eyes.” As I remember, sports nicknames were cool. In baseball there was The Scooter, Charlie Hustle, The Iron Man, Sultan of Swat, The Yankee Clipper, Bullet Bob, and Mr. October.
In football, there nicknames like The Purple Cloud, The Kansas Comet, The Galloping Ghost, The Four Horsemen, The 7 Blocks of Granite, Bullet Bob Hayes, Ed “Too Tall” Jones. We love nicknames identifying special qualities of a player, especially if that player is fast or strong. Look at the name of “Mean” Joe Green, the great Pittsburg Steelers defensive lineman.
One nickname I liked was “Pops.” That was the name given to Willie Stargell, the great Pittsburg Pirate star who took a young Pirate team to a world championship. I still remember the theme song, “We are Family,” by Sister Sledge.
Now here I am in a federal prison, and what’s my nickname? Pops. It was great for Stargell but not for me. One day I woke up and my hair was gray. I had more aches and pains than before, and I no longer moved as fast as I use to. Well, I guess I can still be Boo Boo, just older and slower.
Over the last few years, I learned to put my faith in God. Wait a minute — what are His nicknames? He is the great I AM, The God of Hosts, The Living God, The Lord God Almighty, The Heavenly Father, Jehovah and The Holy Spirit. These names are powerful. When you speak these names, you want to bow your head and pray. You want to give praise and thanks. The name of God is serious. He is our past, present and future. And he is our Savior.
That is why I know that being sent to prison for 46 months at age 62 is not the end of the road. I am on a journey with God. He is the pilot and He is directing my steps. I believe Jeremiah 29:11 when it says, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
I can’t wait to see where God’s plan sends me. Who will I meet on this journey? Whose life will I impact? Will I get a new nickname? God knows these answers and they will be revealed to me. As far as a new nickname, I hope I get one that is better than Boo Boo or Pops!
Bernard Addison is serving 46 months for Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud. Questions or comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to:
Bernard Addison/ 44863-074/ FPC-Atlanta; Dorm D/ P.O. Box 150160/ Atlanta, GA 30315