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Monday, 26 September 2011
WHAT'S IN A NAME? ARE YOU KIDDING? A LIKELY STORY...
"Why are you called 'Kid'? Is it because you act like one?"
If I had a pound for every time I've been asked that, I'd have -
well, I'd have a pound actually, so I don't suppose there's really much
interest in the topic. However, I have to fill this blog with something,
so - assuming you'll bear with me in yet another act of shameless self-
indulgence - I shall address the issue in the forlorn hope that any-
body even remotely cares.
There was a period during my early teenage years when I
called everyone "kid". It was short, snappy, and it meant never having
to worry about remembering people's names. One day, I ran into a pal of
mine in the company of a group of his friends. Anticipating my familiar,
well-worn greeting, he thought he'd get in first in a daring act of mockery
at my little peccadillo. (Feel free to supply your own amusing rejoinder
to that last sentence.) "Hi Kid!", he said with a cheeky grin upon his
smug countenance, immensely satisfied with himself for - in his
mind - 'beating me to the punch'.
His pals were unaware
of his intended 'irony' how-
ever, and merely assumed it
to be my nickname. But ours
is a drama decreed by the
fates to be acted out (always
loved that line by LARRY LIEBER); I subsequently
became friendly with that
little group, who - in their
innocence - always referred
to me by that appellation.
And so the name stuck and
I've been known as "Kid"
- to them and to others -
But whence came the habit which led to me effectively naming
myself? Why didI call people "kid" to begin with? I'm glad I pretended
you asked. Back in the early '70s, there was a brilliant comedy show called WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE LIKELY LADS, starring JAMES BOLAM and RODNEY BEWES. In fact, as they had alternating billing
from week to week, if you re-read that last sentence, reverse the order
of their names so that I don't hear from their agents or solicitors.
Although the programme was a comedy, it also had pathos, poignancy
and profundity - otherwise known as the three Ps. During the course of
their frequent nostalgia-laden soliloquies, the characters often addressed
each other as "kid" or "kidda". In my devotion to the programme and my
desire to emulate my heroes, I adopted the practice of referring to everyone
I knew (and some I didn't) as "kidda", which resulted in some puzzled looks.
You see, the words "kidda" and "kidder" sound pretty similar when pro-
nounced with a lazy Glaswegian accent, and this made folks think I
was accusing them of pulling my leg in some way.
"Kidder?" they'd say in a
slightly bewildered manner
(likewise mispronouncing it as "kidda") - "Kiddin' about what?"
Well, it didn't take me too long to
realize that adopting the shorter
option -"kid" - would avoid any
unnecessary confusion amongst
my sturdy band of companions
and free me from having to end-
lessly explain myself. It could've
been worse. I'd once been in the
habit of exclaiming "Jings, man!"
in response to anything of even
a vaguely interesting or sur-
This inevitably led to all my friends and acquaintances calling me "Jings-Man" every time I appeared on the horizon. Fortunately, I soon
dropped the use of this 'oath' (doubtless acquired from reading too many BROONS and OOR WULLIE strips in The SUNDAY POST) and thus
escaped any long-term association with the term which could've resulted
in lasting damage to my delicate sensibilities. I much prefer being called "Kid" - or "Sir", even. (In fact, now that I come to think about it, "Master" is good as well.)
And there you have it! The hitherto secret origin of how I gained my
teenage nickname which has remained with me to this day. And you also
have an object lesson in the art of writing something about nothing - but
you should only ever do so if your very life depends on it, so I have
absolutely no excuse.