Stephen F. Dennstedt
What’s in a name, especially a nickname? Lots of things—oftentimes a nickname says more about you than your given name. I’ve always wanted a nickname. The problem is that a good nickname should be given to you by others, and not chosen by you [for you]. Usually you pick up your nickname in school or the military—for some reason that never happened for me. It’s a real regret. Now that I’m old (and retired) it’s time for me to start doing stupid things (some may say that I’ve already done enough stupid things to cover a lifetime, but hey . . . ). You know, the kinds of things a typical wife would never approve of, such as: getting an ear stud, getting a tattoo(s), growing a beard or other facial hair, growing an old man ponytail and acquiring a nickname. I’ve got the facial hair thing covered, I am follicly-challenged so the ponytail thing is out (unless I buy one of those baseball caps with the ponytail already stitched to the back); so that leaves the ear stud, tattoo(s) and nickname.
A great nickname might be the easiest place to start, and it might even tie into an appropriate tattoo. Like a good dog’s name, a good nickname should be two syllables. For instance, I had a big lovable German Shepherd named Sergeant, but I almost always called him Sarge. I like the nickname Indy (for Indiana Jones), because I love travel and adventure, but it’s way overused. I think Snake would be appropriate, because I’ve been bitten twice by rattlesnakes (once when I was 8, and again when I was 10). Wouldn’t you think one of my friends would have started calling me Snake? The downside is that I would run the risk of being called “Snaky” on occasion (unacceptable), and the nickname Snake is also a bit overused. Some of my friends here in Yucatan call me Python Stevie, but that is for reasons best left alone.
So I like the above tattoo with its motto: “Hesitation Will Get You Killed.” Coupling that with the nickname Fragman (or the shorter Frag . . . not fag . . . no disrespect to my Gay friends) would be perfect. Yeah I know, it’s a bit over the top, but hear me out. Frag is short for fragmentation grenade; it pays homage to my years in the Marine Corps and Vietnam service. I loved tossing grenades and listening to the resulting pop. If you pull my pin I can also can get a bit explosive. Just give it some thought. I could walk into a room full of likeminded idiots (old men), and they could greet me with a resounding high-five, a hearty slap on the back and a loud: “Hey Frag, how ya doin man?”
Future tattoos might include: a Rattlesnake, Jaguar or Blue Morpho Butterfly (like Steve McQueen had in the movie Papillon). And I’m not completely ruling out some indigenous tribal tattoo from Borneo, Java or New Guinea. Ear studs could come from anywhere at anytime. Man, there are so many stupid things left for me to do in this life, and so little time. I am anxious to get started.