The other day a friend asked me about my nicknames growing up, and I was in no small way delighted. I love to listen. I'm a good listener so they say and so I say. But if you ask me a little personal question--a small sweet imp of a question I might thrill a little inside. So I'm extending that thrill here and will list some of my favorite nicknames, their creator and their origin. I'll preface this by saying that I love the act of naming--the way in which a new name can solidify, fuse, redeem, endear, and ennoble people (it's worth noting that naming can also destroy and divide asunder and turn whole to fragment but we'll save that for another post).

Smurf (my stepdad): This is my first nickname. I have always been small for my age, and at 4 yrs old I think I was probably about 8 inches tall. Also, I watched the Smurfs religiously (trumped only in viewer dedication by She-Ra Princess of Power).

Blanket Head (My stepdad): Around kindergarten and first grade, I rarely showed my face at home. Mostly I maneuvered, watched TV, and ate dinner with a blanket over my head. Aware of the hazards that such an outfit posed, I made sure to fashion a very very small hole in my blanket, strategically placed for breathing and navigation.

Roller (My stepdad): This nickname has a couple of origins. They called me Roller because my mom used to put those pink foam rollers in my hair every night before bed so that I would wake to fat and prissy Victorian ringlets. They also called me Roller because at 6 years old I was THE QUEEN of Skateworld. My Barbie skates and I dominated that crusty 1970s throwback of a rink in Hillsboro, OR. Off the rink, I mostly used my skates to chase our cat Fluffy through the house, zipping through the halls wearing nothing but underwear and a cape.

Hotlips Hastings (My stepdad once again--he was a real champ at the art of nicknaming): I kissed Shane Battenfield in the 4th grade. I had the poor sense to tell my family and Hotlips Hastings was born. I am happy to report that with twenty years gone by, I have consistently made good on this nickname.

Ball Buster (The terrorized boys in my 4th grade class): Aside from kissing aforementioned Shane Battenfield, I also chased him and Sanjeev Prasad on the playground during EVERY recess for the entire school year. If I caught them, I kicked them in the balls. Thus I was christened Ball Buster (BB for short). All of this and Shane still wanted to kiss me. Unbelievable. I am happy to report that with twenty years gone by I have NOT made good on this nickname. Shane, Sanjeev, I am very sorry. I hope you are fertile.

Krissy-Poo (Each one of my dad's seven brothers): I don't like nicknames that remind me of feces. That is all.

Chrysanthemum: This is a darling nickname that many people have used with me. But be forewarned that it is not clever. Although you likely believe you are the first person to ever think of this name, you are not. I will still be your friend though.

Chrissandwhich: A nickname that only a few people have used with me. I think it's safe to say that you are indeed very clever (and probably keenly interested in archaic McDonald's fare) if you use this name for me.

Kriface (My best friend Susan aka Sufoot): My best friend Susan and I think it is very very funny to speak in a baby voice while merging our names with various body parts (e.g. Kributt, Suhead, etc. etc.). I recognize that this confession has increased my likelihood of remaining single forever from about 30% to 97%. Susan is already married and is immune to the ramifications of such a confession.

K (Boyfriends. Boyfriends really like this one): I like this one the most. It makes me feel a little flirtatious and a lot loved. Somehow shortening my name to one small letter makes me feel so much more than I am. A naming paradox.

Hooch (Affectionately used by current boyfriend): As intoxicating as the illegal whisky it references. Said boyfriend wants to make sure blog readers know that Hooch is NOT short for Hoochie (i.e. a woman of ill repute). If anyone is the hoochie mama in this relationship it's him. You don't need me to tell you what playboys chemical engineers can be.