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Issue 18 – Assumption 2023

Nunc Dimittis

Narfie Noodle

On nicknames. 


One night in my college dorm room, my best friend, looking a bit embarrassed, made a confession. No one had ever given him a nickname, and he wanted one. Another friend sitting nearby blurted out “Chip Whitley,” and by force of will and constant repetition, we made it stick.

Chip was the first person I helped nickname. My family didn’t often give out monikers, though my sister Monica did go by “Mon.” My parents used “buddy” and other common pet names for me, but nothing unique ever stuck. My stepdad, a wonderful and caring man, called me “doofus” for a while, but my mom didn’t let that continue for long.

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About the author

Mark Naida

Mark Naida is an assistant editorial features editor at the Wall Street Journal.