Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Name Calling

Sometimes given names aren't the worst. Parents can saddle their children with some hideous burdens for names, but occasionally the names we give ourselves are the worst. Almost everybody on the prison grounds has a "yard name". It's either something they've thought up themselves or sometimes it's something they've gotten stuck with unintentionally. We see alot of the gang-related hip-hop sort of handles like D-Boy and J-Dawg (everybody wants to be named something-dawg for some stupid reason) and E-Cat. And regional names like Eastside and Detroit and Los Angeles. There was a kid once who called himself Russia, trying to sound exotic. I know a couple of words in russian and they are insults and he didn't understand either one of them. Turned out he was from Ohio. And of course, there's a thousand guys named Slim. And we gots a bazillion Big this and Little that.

Occasionally someone will try to make up a name for themselves and it comes out sounding completely stupid. We had a couple of guys several years ago who called themselves Sandman and White Knight. Sounded like CB handles. They slung those names around like they were somebody and everyone should know who they were. We did. They were two of the most pathetic losers I had ever come across.

Some of the names are self-explanatory. When you meet a man named Miss Anne, or Kiki or Precious or Lucy then you know exactly who you are talking to. If you run across some buzzed out freak with no teeth calling himself Meth Head you can just say "Yup" and move on.

But some of the names are repulsive to say the least and would be insulting under any circumstances. If you walked up to someone out on the streets and called them Fat Bastard or Donkey Mouth or Creep they'd probably smack you right in the beezer. But inside the fence it's just fine. I've been called some nasty names, but none of them ever stuck.

In the old days nicknames weren't quite so harsh. Of course there was Creepy Carpis and Fat Tony (who could forget Fat Tony?) but we also had Pretty Boy Floyd and Machine Gun Kelly and Legs Diamond and Lucky Luciano and Bugs Moran. Just don't call him Bugs to his face.


  1. mine was taggbro.
    some still call me taggbro.

    or goolio

  2. Taggbro? I'd like to know the story behind that one.
    For awhile mine was "Doc". Then my buddy actually became a doctor and he got that one. Then I was the "Rev". Think I'll keep it.

  3. In my town you were called by your last name.

    As in, "hey, Hall...." That's how you knew you had really arrived.

    (cesica) <-- a spicy Ligurian sausage.

  4. not much of a story really. my last name is taggart so it got morphed.