Claire Went There

And wound up here

Maybe You Can Call Me Maybe!

Quick, what’s your nickname? You have at least one, right?  Congratulations, someone loves you.

I am among the nicknameless, the not-chosen ones, the ones who leave the “likes to be called” line blank.  I told Coach that I was going to write about how I have never had a nickname and he spent nearly 20 minutes saying “that’s so sad!” and telling me all of his, which I already know. I can tell when someone met Coach by the name they use;  Haji, Wuss, Big D, Cool Breeze, Coach, or his name plus “y.” He’s special and obviously much adored.

Here are the few, very lame, efforts others have made to give me a pet name: Clara, Clarabelle, Clayer, Clairey.

First, Coach is the only one who can call me Clara and get away with it, but even that depends on many factors, like distance, mood and what he wants.  My sister will say or write “Clayer,” which might be an homage to my 2nd grade mis-clap, or is perhaps the way she pronounces it. One friend – one – calls me Clairey. And then there’s Clarabelle, which is truly distressing because…

clarabelle clown

This is Clarabell

And this is Clarabelle

And this is Clarabelle

Who knows how much my lack of a tag would bother me if I hadn’t experienced a crisis in my middle grade years. During recess, I would stand outside against the wall poking at rocks with a stick, and listen to the Mustang cheerleaders practice their cheers. The fascinating “Roll Call” mocked and tortured me the most, and is the cheer that woke me up to my dilemma. In a call-and-response chant the girls would introduce themselves and their pet names. 

My name is Karen! (yeah!)
They call me Care (yeah!)
‘Cause what you’re handling (yeah?)
Is very rare! (CHECK IT OUT!)
Sha boogie, sha sha shaboogie, ROLL CALL!

I spent many tedious hours working through this cheer in case I ever tried out and was chosen for the Mustang Cheer Squad (SPOILER ALERT: didn’t happen). But the second line tripped me up every time.

My name is Claire (yeah!)
They call me Claire (yeah!)
‘Cause no one has ever (yeah?)
Called me anything other than that (CHECK IT OUT!)
Sha boogie, sha sha shaboogie, ROLL CALL!

My last chance at a fun epithet was motherhood – of course I’m mama, mommy, mom, but that’s what I AM, so it does not count. For a while the junior child called me Mamalee, and the more worrisome and random “Mother O’Brien,” neither of which had anything to do with anything at all.

And now my nickname ship has sailed. There is nothing else to call me. Either I never did anything particularly memorable or I am just not very pettable (I know which one it is, thanks).  For 38+ years the Roll Call cheer has taunted me. If you can finish it for me in a way that makes sense AND rhymes, please do so. You’ll be my best friend.

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6 thoughts on “Maybe You Can Call Me Maybe!

  1. leslie on said:

    We’re in the same club. unless you consider “les” a nickname…which I don’t, because it was already half of my name. so that’s just lazy. And I am married to a man named Boo. I made sure all 3 of my offspring have several nicknames. I’m a giver.

  2. My sister and brother call me “Dude” or Du, for short. My high school nickname was “Scum,” which was really less a name than it was my position in the social hierarchy.

  3. I could be a cheerleader?

    My name is Susan.
    They called me Scum.
    ‘Cause I was weird and white and smart (yeah)
    and that’s no way to win a chum! (Check it out!)
    Sha boogie, sha sha shaboogie, ROLL CALL!

  4. Wendi on said:

    I’ve written your own special cheer

    My name is Claire, yeah
    I have nice hair, yeah
    I got a pair, yeah
    So there!

    I don’t need your cheer, yeah
    I like to drink beer, yeah
    You’re probably fat now
    I’m not a cow
    So wow.

  5. One day, hopefully in the distant future, you could be called Mee-maw. Be careful with what you wish for!

  6. Morbidly Obese One on said:

    One of our very special classmates endeared me with the nicknames “Thunder Thighs” and “Mass Ass”. My ex-husband called me “La Gorda”…Ya think this had anything to do with my body image problems?

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