Nicknames


When my oldest son was born, my wife insisted on naming him David Diego Rodriguez, Jr. I was against this for many reasons (I’ve already written several blog entries on this topic). She won the argument. When our surprise twins were born, she insisted that I name them whatever I wanted. I was very surprised by her decision, but I immediately started thinking of names. Adam immediately came to mind because one of my best friends in grade school was named Adam. I also gave him the middle name of Luis because my brother Joe’s middle name is Luis and both my father-in-law and brother-in-law were named Louis. Of course, I had to use the Spanish spelling of Luis and the French. The other twin I named Alejandro because the name was at once biblical, historical, mythical, and popular. I liked the Spanish version of the name because I had been reading several history books written in Spanish in which they referred to Alejandro Magno, or, Alexander the Great, as a major influence for Charlemagne and his descendent Carlos V of Spain. For his middle name I chose Daniel because I have a both a brother and brother-in-law named Daniel. In addition, I have known many Daniels in my lifetime who were good friends. Thus, the twins were named Alejandro Daniel Rodriguez and Adam Luis Rodriguez, but wife and I called them Adam and Alex. And so did most people.

Behold! Adam and Alex! 

However, somehow they acquired some nicknames that I didn’t particularly like: Coco and Squeaky. My in-laws contstantly called them by these nicknames and I would always point out that they should be called Alejandro or Alex and Adam. Coco and Squeaky were totally unacceptable. This went on for a few months and I never let up on correcting anyone who called my sons by those nicknames. My inlaws started hating me, but I looked as my actions as a way of protecting my sons from schoolyard abuse based on their nicknames. Every time they called my twins Coco or Squeaky, I would correct them and we occasionally got into shouting matches. I knew that nicknames were trouble for boys when they played with other boys. I had seen it happen when I was a boy and with my older son when he started school. Not that I was against nicknames, but only if they were good and had positive connotations. Eventually, everyone called the twins Adam and Alex. Twelve years later, I don’t think anyone even remembers those nicknames.

When my oldest son was about 11 and the twins were four, my older son’s friends noticed that Alex had the same name as a certain very famous, very skilled professional baseball player. Once, I introduced the twins to his friends as Adam and Alex. One friend, thought about it for while and then pointed to Alex with a look of amazement on his face. He said, “His name is Alex Rodriguez! He has the same name as A-Rod!” That had never even occurred to me because I had never even heard of A-Rod when the twins were born in 1996. When the twins started school, all their friends started calling them A-Rod and soon my oldest son became D-Rod.

You mean his name is A-Rod!

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David Diego Rodríguez, Ph.D.

I write about whatever comes to mind. También enseño español y escribo acerca de los mexicanos y la enseñanza del español.