People often raise an eyebrow, or otherwise express surprise, when I tell them my email address. “Skippy?” they say. This is usually followed by “Why Skippy?” The answer is surprisingly mundane, but that won’t stop me from writing a lengthy post about the matter! And it has nothing to do with peanut butter, or a kangaroo.

In middle school I also started playing sports at the local recreation center, having decided that the sports teams at my parochial school were off limits to me. I played both football and basketball. The coach for both teams was the same guy. The coach had a hard time remembering my name. I think there was also another Scott on the team, but I think he dropped out after just a couple of practices. Nonetheless, at the very first basketball practice the coach declared that he would never be able to remember my name and demanded that I give myself a nickname.

Looking back, I have no idea why he thought any nickname I might provide would be any more memorable than my given name. In reality, of course, I didn’t disappoint: I suggested “Toothpick”. At the time, I thought myself clever for selecting this moniker, and felt that it was fitting: I was tall and lanky. If I wasn’t the tallest (and skinniest!) kid on the team, I was an extremely close runner-up. I played basketball for several seasons, and football too, and Toothpick I was for all that time.

By the time I reached high school, I was back to Scott for most people.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about the Love Barn. In hindsight, it was a great experience, and we had a lot of fun there. While I was actually living there, though, it was a veritable hell on earth, with five strong-willed egotistical guys constantly trying to one-up one another. I couldn’t live out the entire lease, and left after about 9 months. I was lucky to be able to still call Tom a friend at the end of my residence.

At the Love Barn we did basically three things: watch “Talk Soup” with Greg Kinnear whenever it was on, play Super Mario Kart or Madden ‘97 (the latter was the preferred conflict resolution method, and more often then not determined who’s turn it was to wash dishes), and occasionally do our home work. One day, Tom, Bryan, Pat and I were engaged in a Madden ‘97 tournament ladder while Jay was at class. Jay came home early and burst into the living room announcing “We need nicknames!” This was not uncharacteristic of Jay: he would often make wild pronouncements with little provocation.

Jay looked at Tom and declared “You’re like a little elf boy! You ARE an elfboy!” Thus was Tom ever after known as Elfboy. I fell next to Jay’s gaze and he exclaimed “Skippy!” with no other commentary. After this, Jay ran out of steam, and assigned no more nicknames. Instead, he retired to his room to do his homework. There was a surprised silence in the wake of his exit, but then the four of us returned to our game. Tom and I each secretly believed that the moment had passed, and that the nicknames would not stick. Boy were we wrong.

As time went on, more and more people referred to me as Skippy. As it became commonplace amongst all my friends, so too did it trickle up to my parents, who would call me by my nickname when they called or came to visit me at the Love Barn.

Skippy is not a particularly common nickname (except, apparently, for pets), and yet I still find it extremely hard to secure the skippy username when signing up for new online services!

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