This guy Beels has heard lots of nicknames

As I look back at my roll of nicknames, I realize each signified part of  who I am.

As I look back at my roll of nicknames, I realize each signified part of who I am.

I called my buddy KP. That’s short for Kingpin, a nickname he was given three decades ago.

And as we golfed virtually, ate burgers and drank drafts, KP called me Beels. That’s a nickname that’s stood through decades, too.

But it certainly wasn’t my first nickname.

When I was of soft-cereal age, there used to be a TV commercial for the breakfast glop Maypo. The little kid spooning the mix was called Markie. And so, the very first name-related nickname I remember is my parents, aunts and uncles calling me Markie Maypo.

But not my Pop Pop Bialczak. He always called me Chum.

But with a last name like Bialczak …

The cruel kids in elementary school quickly bastardized that to a nickname I despised so thoroughly, then and still, that I can’t even bring myself to type it a half-century later. Suffice it to say that it had to do with a dull pain in a male body part. Yeah, my father told his elementary school-aged son, you’ll be hearing that one from the mean and stupid kids.

Others thought it clever to call me Beelzebub. Only I didn’t think I ever acted very devilish.

My cousin Peter, a full decade older than I, came up with a another twist on my first name. Peter liked to call me Marcus Aurelius. When in Rome, I could be Emperor. But we lived on Long Island.

When I went upstate to begin college, my quick journalism pal Greg Ten Eyck began to call me Bialz. It sounded like Bee-Alls. I liked it, even though back home we pronounced our last name Bee-Al-Zack. (Greg’s roommate, Elias, gave him the nickname Twenty, and that stuck, too.)

After getting our associate’s degree at SUNY Morrisville, Twenty, Aggo and Bee-Alls transferred to the University of Maryland. Aggo was Mike Agostino, whom I’d known for what seemed like forever, because we came from the same hometown and went to junior high, high school, junior college and college college together. When I got the job as sports editor at the big daily in Syracuse in the 1980s, I hired Aggo for my staff as a copy editor. Around that time, Aggo decided that he wanted people to call him Homer. But I do digress.

While in College Park, Maryland Terrapins soccer goalie Larry Howell started to call me Zack. I thought it was pretty cool that the goalie thought enough of the campus newspaper sports reporter to give him a zippy nickname. Nobody else in my life has ever called me Zack.

Two other Morrisville grads moved to Maryland a couple years after Twenty and I. Shaudy and Mattadeo — Steve Michaud and Matt Amodeo — moved into the same house as us, and they started calling me Beelsie. They still do.

When I moved to Syracuse, I quickly discovered the newspaper bar. Plenty of my co-workers at the big daily were also in their 20s. We’d leave the office after midnight and congregate at a family-owned bar and restaurant one block away. Tommy Hrim was alway behind the bar at the N&H. The wise man pinned KP with Kingpin. Tommy called me Wojo. “Barney Miller” was popular on TV during those days, but only Tommy was allowed to call me the name of the Polish detective from the show.

Some of the newspaper/N&H crowd started calling me Big Dog. I was 25 and exuberant about life. Yes, I could get a bit loud when I got going.

After I calmed down some, Beels was coined.

And after I calmed down even more, I got married, and we had our daughter.

Still I focused very much on my work with the big daily.

My ex started to call me Joe Post-Standard.

That job is gone now, too.

My daughter Elisabeth calls me Dad.

My sisters call me Bro. Sometimes, Bro-ski.

My dear wife Karen calls me Mark.

I’ll answer to all. I like my wealth of nicknames.

Have you had more than one nickname in your life? What’s your favorite nickname? What do you think my nickname should be?

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83 thoughts on “This guy Beels has heard lots of nicknames

  1. I love love love nicknames. I have a slew of them. Wrote about them about a year or two or three ago. Hmmmmm…. your nickname…. I’m kind of liking Wojo. Maybe I’d call you “Hatz”. Funny thing i manage to do is call peoplby the wrong name so often it soon becomes a nickname. My go to nickname for my siblings is Pinky. I love the fun and affection in this.

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  2. All your nicknames are gems. I wasn’t one of the cruel kids, so I probably would have never called you any derogatory name, but would have went with a continuing “Bialz” or simply “B.”

    Being born when Christopher was one of the most popular names, there were so many of us, and “Malone” was the standard and longest lasting nickname of all of them (despite “Chris” being the obvious nickname). “Maloney Bologna” and “Maloney” came after, and the latter stuck simply because teachers, mispronouncing my name always, added that extra “y” at the end of it.

    In college, it was strange to hear people calling me “Chris” instead of “Malone,” which thankfully did come back around. The name “Calzone” came around senior year of college..

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  3. I get Rosco, sometimes Rosco P. Coletrane by children of the seventies. One brother-in-law just calls me “P-Cole.” My brother calls me “Rossy the Cow.” He’s the only one and I have no idea why.

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  4. Love this. I recall people referring to you as “Beels” at the Big Daily way back when. (Somehow “Zack” wouldn’t have worked). Me? Some friends still invoke actor Jerry Mathers on that great TV show about the Cleavers. It rhymes with McKeever, of course, so it made sense. They’ve even shortened that, so now it’s just “Beav” or “The Beav.”

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  5. That is more nicknames than you can shake a stick at. I’ve never heard so many. It’s like people are desperate to avoid calling you Mark, a perfectly good name that never goes out of style. We had so many Mikes and Marks in school, it got confusing, though. A girl at my school had the last name Balcezak, which reminds me of yours. Teachers never could pronounce it. She said it “bowel-ceh-zack.”

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    • I’ve seen but one or two exact Bialczak matches from outside my family, Kerbey, but never, ever a Balcezak. For the first time in my life, I want to throw this stone: What a weird last name! Thank you for calling me the perfectly good Mark.

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  6. My fav nickname for you is Broski! I have no idea about the one the kids called you, but kids can be brutally cruel. My nicknames when I was very small were, Woodenhead (because I was so stubborn) and Cotton Top (because my hair was bright white). Neither stuck (thank goodness).

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  7. When you have been blessed with the given name of James Johnson, the inevitable “Jimmy J.” and “J.J.” are part of the vernacular before cognitive memory has even been formed. I have answered to those terms of endearment since the Eisenhower administration. (As I am guessing, so have the NASCAR driver, the football analyst, the MLB relief pitcher and the hundreds of other Jimmy Johnson’s out there!)

    But your story begs of creativity, and on that point, I have been bestowed by friends and family in abundance. As a kid, a few friends started calling me “Johnny” and that later evolved to “Johnny Jet” during my base-stealing days in the Hicksville Baseball Association. My high school baseball coach was also my first-ever Journalism instructor. He gave me the double entendre moniker of “Scoop.”

    When I was still a teen, my dad looked at me one day and noting my tall, lanky appearance said, “you’ve grown into a real hayseed. You look like a ‘Zeke’ to me.” And for the last 40 years of my life, I still answer to that call, but only when it comes from my Pop.

    At Morrisville, the first girls I ever met on campus called me, “Jamie,” but to many of my dorm mates, I was simply known as “Buzz” (it was the ‘70’s – no explanation needed).

    I have a partner in one of the longest continuously running NHL Hockey Fantasy leagues (33 years!). I started calling him “Punch” (Imlach) and he calls me “Toe” (Blake). Without the context and the history, people just stare at us when we call out to each other in a public place.

    Several of my friends are Ironmen triathletes who compete in the grueling endurance event in the name of charity. I have been privileged to serve on their support team at many Ironman events in North America. I take care of their equipment and nutrition during Ironman weekend. That includes keeping the fridge stocked with plenty of beer “tins”. (For carbo-loading only!) While I may never be an Ironman, I am known to that group of friends simply as “The Tin Man.”

    At the age of 55, I still play hockey with a bunch of great guys (several of whom are quite a bit younger than me). A few seasons back, they noted my silver mane and dubbed me, “Reg,” after Reg Dunlop, the character played by Paul Newman, in the classic movie, “Slapshot.”

    It’s a blessing to have so many nicknames that take you back to a special time, place and group of people in your life. You don’t always have to LIKE your nickname, but it’s an honor knowing that someone cares enough about you to slap you with a title that might stick for life. Thanks for stirring up some great memories, Beels!

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    • Since 1976, you have been Jimmy to me, my Long Island compatriot and Morrisville cult-of-journalism classmate.

      I betcha I would say ah-ha! if ypu shared the names of the girls who called you Jamie, too …

      I dig the nicknames of your life, my friend. Reg in honor of Paul Newman in ‘Slapshot’ may be my favorite, but Toe (Blake) is great because you are sort of GM-ish.

      Thank you for sharing your cherished list.

      As somebody famous once said, you can call me whatever you want as long as you call me. (But not that body part one.)

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  8. I like “Beels.” I love the anecdotes that go along with all your nicknames. I’ve got several myself. But may take your lead and role them out in a post. I like this! Have a great day Beels!

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  9. Mark … I do love that name and many of the nicknames you’ve had throughout the years.

    Like you, I had a couple of nicknames that will never see print. The ones I did like were from when I was in high school: “Rebel” (probably the one without a cause); T.C. – for Top Cat, the cartoon; Jude – before The Beatles put the “Hey” in front of it, and Judy, Judy, Judy (Cary Grant swore he never said that in a movie – but he could have said it to me.) 😉

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  10. I used to have the surname Moohan – Oh you can imagine – but I sort of shrugged off any names I didn’t like. My mum and sister call me Rach which I don’t really like but they’re family! If anyone else calls me Rach I cringe and tell them gently that I’d rather they called me Rachel.
    Steve calls me Cheddar. If we’re having a ‘discussion’ he’s learnt to use my proper name or things take a turn for the worse.
    TMI ?

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  11. this is a tremendous post, mark. i love nicknames and have reclaimed my little kid one, (peaches), as my grandmother name and now the sons-in-law and others have caught on to the trend. i love it! you had some fantastic nicknames, i must say, and of course kids always can mutate/bastardize most any name we are born with. they are good at it. not to worry, we grow up and keep the names we love and discard the rest. )

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  12. I worked at Cedar Point Amusement Park for two summers. One under the Sky Ride, in a booth that served hot dogs, fries and pop. I am not sure if there was much more served. Memory of the items fades, but my nickname was Robin Red Pop. I did love the red pop, red colored strawberry vanilla soda. Some may have thought it was like “Cream Soda.” I did not. Anyway there was a nice girl there who had the last name of Sepsey, which we called her Karen Pepsi!
    In the second year of working at the CP Amusement Park, I chose to be a whole other person, I worked in the hotel, lived in the hotel and liked to ride on boats that the clients/customers had. I chose my middle name, so it wasn’t really a nickname, of Beth. My middle name is Elizabeth. Beth (above) and I have decided we are sisters in kindred spirits. A year or two apart, I am older. Smiles, Robin

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    • And my daughter’s name is Elisabeth, spelled with an ‘s’ because I had a friend who spelled it that way and loved the way it looked. Her mother calls her Beth, but I refuse to shorten the lovely name in my mind or on my lips. So you and Ann Arbor Beth are the two kindreds in my life sharing the name. Robin.

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  13. P.S. Mark, I like the nickname of Beels! I also like the Marcus Aurelius one. It is formal and imports a position of good standing! I forgot to tell you that I got teased a lot, didn’t mind the Batman jokes nor the “when are you flying south” ones but I was embarrassed in elementary with the Robin redbreast one! I can feel your pain with the teasing that those mean kids do, but seems like you probably had the confidence not to let it get you down! Smiles, Robin

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  14. Mostly Angie, but also Super Mom, “Max’s” mom, The Hat Lady, Hey You, Angie Baby, Angel, St. Angela, Dixie (don’t ask on that one), and Winky (that one either), My older son was TD for Top Dog, and the younger was TC for Top Cat, mainly because their dad couldn’t remember their names,

    For you, I like Beels and Chum. Wojo isn’t bad. I remember that show, but Wojo was not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, while you have brains enough for two or three. But Mark is the winner for me. I really like Mark best of all.

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  15. I love nicknames! I myself gave your lovely wife Karen a fun nickname! My fav nickname I received was given to me by Diane Monthie and Sue Hart when I first got to the paper “Needy Girl”.
    I can also relate to the last name issue. My maiden name was Leppert. Yup, not fun. It was a bloodbath of nasty nicknames. I love my last name being Mangano. No one messes with an italian’s last name. Lol

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    • The nickname you gave me dear wife Karen is a keeper, Lori. She can indeed be a Margarita, And for you, ‘Needy Girl,’ made me LOL as the cool folks say. Sam’s last name fits you perfectly, too, my friend.

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  16. Mark, how have you been? Susie sent me, but you know I drop by on my own. I’ve had my share of nicknames in my life, but the only ones I liked were the ones given to me by girlfriends. The others are a painful reminder of being bullied as a kid. 😦

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  17. I like Beels. I have a daughter called ‘Beansie’… she look like a baby beans doll when a baby. My other daughter is ‘Porky’… she looked like that loveble pig in her official 6 mo. baby picture… I don’t think she is fond of that. I was called ‘The Dude’… and that was way before The Dude. One of my daughters (Beansie) calls me ‘Hoss’… which I’m not thrilled with. The only other nicknames that come to mind is Tedster, which a few insist on and Mr. Ted… I’m not thrilled with that one either.

    Susie sent me, btw…

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    • Keying on your last name, Mr. Strutz, I will give you the nickname Confidently. But only works of you pronounce Strutz with a soft ‘u.’ If it’s a long ‘u,’ well, get back to me and I’ll work on a new one. Great to meet you via Susie Land.

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  18. That is a wealth of nicknames! I remember how mean kids could be and took it into consideration when naming my own. By the time they were in school, bully proofing was in full force. I could have named them any crazy name and they would have been unscathed at the schools they went to.
    My husband went to school with a kid called Thor Hole. Not sure how he spelled the last name, but that guy could’ve used a nickname!
    Thanks for bringing this to the party! Have fun clicking on a few links! Tell them, “Susie sent me,” and they should click back!

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  19. I’m over here from Susie’s place. So cool about all the nicknames. I only had a couple, Mouse when I was in school because I was so quiet. And Blondie when I was a kid because at that time I had blondish/white hair.

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  20. When I was a socially awkward teenager I tried to fit in with some of the older boys by telling the worst off-colour jokes imaginable. Stuff I wouldn’t dream of repeating now. On one particular occasion I made a pretty horrible joke about a recently discovered serial killer, who I will not name. I won’t name him because that guy’s name became my nickname through the rest of upper school. Imagine explaining the origin of that nickname to a girl you fancy.

    Looking back, I’m fully aware that I brought it on myself. Now, as a socially awkward adult, I keep my mouth shut.

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  21. Never had a nick name . However like you I was teased with soft cereal association. My middle name Wilhelmina eat your Farina. There really wasn’t much wrong with it because I loved and still do Farina. But at five or six years old it was embarrassing. I ended up hating my middle name. Now I love it. I like Beels it’s a cool name.

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  22. Pingback: Throwback Thursday: After a round with Shaudy, Aggo and Twenty | markbialczak

  23. I like calling you Marky Mark, but Chum…now that might be my new favorite. Love that one.

    I have always been Sis and Auddie to my family. My friends call me Aud, Auddie (if they are from my childhood), and Red. I had a 4th grade teacher call me Audrella and a 11th grade young computer teacher, Mr. Hotty call me Oddie and Oddball, since I went against the grain. Always a leader and not the follower, he said. He liked that about me.

    In high school I was Aud The Bod. The boys all called me that and still do back home. At fiest I was embarrassed by it , but realized it meant that they thought I was cute. I had the sparkling personality to play it off. Then one day I got up in someone’s face defending a friend at lunch, after that Fireball came to be a new nickname. Then shortened to Fire, which was enjoyed. When Indeclined a date with Big Prick What’s His Name he started calling me Fire Crotch. That didn’t last long after a slew of his football mates made him apologize. A bunch of amazing guys were some of my best friends then and still are today.

    Mostly, I’m Aud.

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  24. I have too many nic-names to count, some of them stuck and others passed with time… rather like the people who wander in and out of my life through the years.

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