What’s in a name?


You might not think I come into trouble with a name like Joseph. In fact, as an Indian, people only get surprised because they expect me to have a more complicated name. Once I was in quiz match, and the quizmaster asked for my name. When I told him, he looked a little bemused, and then told everyone a funny story about how some other kid a while back had replied, “Call me Abs.”

Most of my moans come from whether or not to use Joe or Joseph. It’s not really a matter of which I prefer – I don’t even realise the difference when people talk to me and I only realised my sisters called me Joe after a decade or so. :P It’s more the first impression it gives.

Each name has its setbacks and advantages. Joe is more casual, easier to pronounce and less conspicuous, but I’ve always thought Joseph sounds classier. Besides, Joe (believe it or not) is more confusing to spell. In Yr 1, I made the mistake of asking my teacher to call me Joe. Every single time she was marking my work, it was written Jo, a girl’s name. This annoyed me greatly and I tried not to make the same mistake again.

In Yr 3, there was already someone called Joseph – so rather than mess about with initials, I was called Joseph and he was called Joe. I preferred it at the time, but in hindsight “Joe” got the better deal.

Then it came to secondary school. I thought I could reinvent myself, so I became Joe. I think it’s worked pretty well, but now after I’ve gotten to know everyone it doesn’t really make much difference. Joe, Joseph… it’s all the same to me really.

My main annoyance is when people don’t use Joe or Joseph but something entirely novel that I have not authorised. This one time I was at karate and a girl kept calling me Josh and then everyone starting calling me Josh. Luckily I protested and people have started calling me Joe or Joseph again.

I have had various other nicknames, but these have never been as wide spread. In school one of my friends used to call me Ioseph and Jsph (these are actually some real nicknames). Another calls me average Joe (or when I do something good, above-average Joe). Once a teacher (yes the same one from Year 1) called me ‘the baby of the class’ due to my summer holiday birthday.

On the internet I haven’t had many names, but I suppose technophile9 and techno-Joe count.

However most of my nicknames come from my family. Jojo, Mojo Jojo, Bro, Mini-Boy-[sister’s name] and Josephine are all the handiwork of my sisters. My parents used to call me a monkey, but not as much nowadays.

However most of these are ‘extinct’ nicknames, save Joe, technophile9 and more recently bro. I guess I’ve never been much of a nickname person.

What about you? Do you like nicknames? Undoubtedly I have missed some, but I think I’ve listed most of them.


Note: Joseph means ‘God will increase’, which I like. :)


Father’s Day (in a family of six)

“How many did I do?” my dad asked at the end of a one minute skipping session that my second youngest sister had been timing.

“20, but if you count the ones were you just put one foot over the skipping rope at a time, you had 25. Do you want me to count those?”

Trust me, it’s funnier when it happens in real life. Especially as it happened on Father’s Day.


We would wake him up with flowers and a breakfast in bed – but we needed everyone. The oldest sister of three was in the toilet, and the youngest sister was pestering her to get out quickly. We handed her a flower we had picked from the garden, and she got behind me. We were in a line from oldest to youngest, with Mum at the rear and ‘youngest sister’ at the front. She and ‘second youngest sister’ knocked on the door, and when they got no reply, knocked again.

My mum told them to just go in, so they theatrically opened the door, an awkward procession that woke my dad up groggily. We gave him the flowers first, with ‘youngest sister’ screeching, “TAKE IT!” and us telling her to calm down. Dad grinned, and invited us to join him.

‘Second youngest sister’ took him too literally, and half belly-flopped onto the bed, making the tea in the breakfast tray spill.

My mum quickly said she would get a tissue, but Dad declined, saying the soggy bacon (and honey) toast would remind him of the fun we have. Or something along those lines.

We still haven’t given him the cards.


(Happy Father’s Day).