Nicknames. They can be funny. They can be cruel. They can be puzzling, like the 6-foot-6, 300-pound behemoth who goes by the nickname “Tiny.”
I started thinking the other day about the nicknames coined for our cities and how I’m starting to hear new pet names for our Texas towns.
We all have heard The Big Apple for New York City. Detroit is The Motor City for its automaking affiliation.
Admittedly, some of these are fun. Dallas has to love being called Big D, but is Fort Worth happy with Cowtown? The moniker is embraced at the Fort Worth Stockyards, at least.
San Antonio is also known as the Alamo City. Houston can go by H-Town or Space City in deference to its NASA ties.
Big cities. Big nicknames. I get that. When it trickles down in size is when I wonder if we’re not getting too cute for our own good.
Here we don’t particularly cotton to being called “Wacko,” though there are times it’s hard to argue.
I went to college at Texas A&M in College Station. The city butts right against Bryan and the metropolitan area is called Bryan-College Station, or shortened to B-CS (which especially works well if you’re writing headlines).
But not long ago, I heard that the new hip name for College Station is C-Stat. What kind of shorthand is that? C-Stat? Sounds more like doctor’s directions barked in the emergency room. I’ll bet some talk radio guy is taking credit for that.
Before coming to Waco 21 years ago I worked in Orange, the last stop on Interstate 10 before hitting Louisiana. The cool kids now are calling it Fruit City. Again, I scratch my head at the thought, but admit it’s sort of catchy.
My friend the Rev. Jim Sichko, whom I knew in Orange even before he entered the priesthood, is with the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky, but currently travels extensively across the country after Pope Francis designated him as a Papal Missionary of Mercy.
Even before the designation Sichko was known for random acts of kindness, such as giving away cash to people at grocery stores. He regularly refers to his hometown as Fruit City on Facebook, which is totally in keeping with his nature.
My new favorite, though, is a little closer to home. I see it most often on Facebook posts, but a number of West residents have taken to referring to their town as The Comma. As in West (comma) Texas.
This makes perfect sense to me. Many times when we in the newsroom talk to people from out of state about West, Texas, we have make sure they know we’re referring to the town in Central Texas and not the West Texas region of the state where you’ll find Abilene, Midland, Odessa, El Paso, etc.
The Comma. Kind of grows on you.