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English filled with nicknames in everyday life

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
America seems to always have had a passion for nicknames. Most of our heros have nicknames and obituaries nearly always list the deceased persons nickname so friends will recognize them. Sometimes we do not know the real names of closest friends.

This habit also extends to objects. For example, for years I did not recognize the word camera. We called it a Kodak. As shaving progressed from a straight razor they called it, "shaving with a Gillette or Schick" not a safety razor. We did not vacuum the carpet we "Hoovered the rug."

Women benefitted greatly with the invention of the Singer sewing machine. Consequently, all "sewed with a Singer." Isaac Singer once received a protest from a labor union against his invention wanting him to stop production. He answered saying, "You want me to stop producing the only thing that will keep a woman quiet for an hour?"

Probably the most prolific use of nicknames involves vehicles. I do not drive a car or a pickup. I drive a Ford. Those of different DNA drive Chevies, Dodges or Pontiacs. These names are changing so fast I'm not sure what I drive anymore. A most-used name that's not a nickname is that of the invention of Thomas Crapper. No need to explain further.

The names of Levis and Stetsons are further examples of nick-naming. No one says hat or trousers, its always just Levis or Stetson. Henry Steinway constructed a musical instrument in his kitchen inventing a radical process of stringing wires for sound. Today we don't say piano we say, "the concert was played on a Steinway."

Does dirty clothes go through the water or does water go through the dirty clothes? This question intrigued Fredric Louis Maytag as he revolutionized cleaning dirty laundry. As a result no one bought a clothes washer they bought a Maytag. Until the arrival of the computer age no one typed on a typewriter. They typed on a Remington or a Corona. Today we write with a ballpoint instead of with a pen. At one time I was equipped with an Eversharp which allowed me to write with a pencil without time wasted in continual sharpening the point.

All of this is leading up to a final paragraph telling of my current daily life today. "I arise each morning to don my Levis, Stetson and Justins. I sip my Folgers, eat my Wheaties and rest on the Crapper. I drive my Ford to the Quick-Stop, sip my latte, eat a Twinkie, read the Globe News and pick up the U.S. junk mail. I might stop and fill my Ford with regular or gab with a neighbor.

Today's work includes dozing with my Catepillar, eating a Spamwich at lunch and taking a snooze in my Lazy Boy. I finish off the day watching a video and sleeping on an inner-spring. It's no wonder new imigrants have a problem with the English language. Our nicknamed English might well be another foreign language. Well, I'll end this now and, "see you in the funny paper."

Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" September 28, 2010column
Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail at trewblue@centramedia.net. For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears weekly.
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This page last modified: September 28, 2010