Origin of name-calling unknown

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Calling people names is common among every social, economic and age group. As we all know, this kind of competition can be found most commonly with younger children.

But who comes up with these names?

In the seventh grade, one of my friends, in the middle of a heated argument, referred to me as a “nerd-bomber.”

I had no idea what it meant, and I still don’t.

The origins of childhood nicknames are a baffling mystery. I know what a nerd is, and I kind of was one at the time, so I would have understood what my friend was talking about if he simply called me that.

Why the hell do bombs have anything to do with nerds? And wouldn’t someone who picks on nerds be considered a nerd-bomber?

So many unanswered questions. My friend didn’t care what he was saying. He just wanted to make it clear that he didn’t think I was up to his standards.

Ultimately, it’s a domination and insecurity thing. But it still doesn’t make sense.

Another one that has been baffling me for years is “doorknob.” Someone, somewhere, once thought that doorknobs were the root of all evil in society and decided to call his younger brother just that. They say kids are cruel, but what they really are is creative. What adult can think up the same ridiculous nicknames? I guess when you are a kid you can use any word in the dictionary and make it sound bad – as long as you say it in a derogatory way.

Growing up as the youngest kid on my block I was the recipient of numerous slurs. It was troubling to not be able to be included in all the fun games without being the man everybody wanted to “can.”

It wasn’t too bad – I stuck to my guns and it really paid off. And now I dish it out like it’s nobody’s business.

I use all kinds of names I picked up from my childhood. Anybody who crosses my path gets a string of “doorknobs,” “four-eyes” and “beanpole.”

Who cares if they don’t have glasses, aren’t skinny or enjoy the convenience of doorknobs. I let them have it.

So what can we learn from all of this mess? That kids are smart, creative and cruel at the same time? Maybe.

But what we really can learn is that I wasn’t very cool when I was younger. Nobody is, really.

That’s not what matters, however. What matters is if you can come up with a nickname that is so ridiculous, so absurd that everyone will believe that it means something bad.

Regardless, I still don’t know what a nerd-bomber is.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email