ZULULAND LETTER: It was all in the name

DO kids still get given nicknames at school?

Or is it, in these uber-sensitive times we live in, considered humiliating and a form of discrimination, punishable with expulsion by an oversensitive governing body consisting of former teacher’s pets?

I wonder if, today, Oros Grobbelaar holds grudges against all skinny people because he was named after a fat, dumb looking character on an orange-squash bottle?

Not everybody had nicknames, but the ‘chosen ones’, in most cases, carried some sort of physical peculiarity.

Finger Voster, for instance, had half an index finger missing, which he claimed to have lost to a metal-bladed Eurolux fan.

Then there was Cheeks Rodgers whose face, when he was made to run in PT class, flopped around like that of a basset hound.

Consol Harris, on the other hand, wore spectacles as thick as the bullet proof glass inside Allied Bank.

Even the headmaster called him ‘Consol’, every time the boy received yet another ‘Outstanding Academic Achievement’ certificate.

We also had a Little Bill, who was named after that scrawny lizard in Alice in Wonderland because, well, he had zero muscle definition and a pointy face.

The name suited him and he didn’t seem to mind.

To this day I have not an idea what Little Bill’s real name was.

Woody Engelbrecht also didn’t seem to mind his nickname, which he was given because he had one glass eye.

He tried to explain that not even artificial limbs were made from wood anymore but, when an older boy pointed out that ‘Porcelain Engelbrecht’ sounded ‘dangerously homosexual’, Woody said that he’s happy being called ‘Woody’ – a name kept until he finished high school.

Self-explanatory

I also remember Wingnut van Tonder, Carrot Tereblanche, Dufus Venter and Rabbit Goodman.

Their nicknames are sort of self-explanatory but for those who don’t know;

Wingnut had ears the size of the solar panels on the Hubble Space Telescope, Carrot was a ginger, Dufus failed standard six twice and Rabbit once featured in a slide show at the annual National Orthodontists Convention.

Rabbit told us that himself and was actually proud of it.

The guy with the most fitting nickname, without the slightest doubt, was Rotor Williams.

Fitting because, not only did his father drive a Mazda Capella, but Rotor was our school’s sprinting champ and had a high pitched, 1100 revs per minute voice.

The only girl I remember having a nickname was Susan Sow, but it wasn’t really a nickname.

Rather a sort of reference.

You see, her father farmed with pigs and would once a year donate an animal to the school to be raffled to raise funds for some or other project.

Susan Sow was damn hot, so didn’t care one bit about being associated with pork.

In fact, Susan Sow looked so fertile that in her senior year the younger boys would, when they discuss her, pronounce her name slowly; ‘Sowww…’.

Oros Grobbelaar said ‘Spur’ in the same manner, and with the same dreamy look on his face, whenever he proudly told us how he set a new personal best at the ‘Eat as much ribs as you can’ Tuesday night special.

Odd boy

The only boy who, I can just imagine, wasn’t too chuffed with what we called him, must have been The Urinator…

Named so because he had a bladder problem, but it might also in a way have been in reference to The Terminator movie because the guy was a machine on a bicycle.

Every now and again someone would sit in a plastic chair containing a puddle, and would then vow to smash The Urinator’s face after school, but once he was on his bicycle, Peter Voges was un-catchable.

I remember his name well because he was often called over the intercom system to go to reception to collect the dry pair of trousers his mom brought him from home.

  AUTHOR
Val van der Walt
MOTORING JOURNALIST

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