What's the meanest nickname you ever gave someone?
Okay, so I’m gonna tell you the nicknames plural, but first I need to tell you about the guy I used them on because if you don’t understand what he’s like, you might think he didn’t deserve every horrible thing anyone ever said to him.
There was this guy I hated at my college. The first time we met, he saw that my messenger bag had a picture of Mandy Patinkin as “Che” in Evita made to look like the iconic Che Guevara image. When he asked why it wasn’t actually Che, I said it was because I’m a huge Mandy Patinkin fan and then said “plus Mandy is way less controversial.” He literally screamed at me for implying Che Guevara had done something to be controversial and asked “are you even a communist?!”
He dressed “steampunk” but this mostly involved wearing a tweed jacket and and bowler hat everywhere. Sometimes the jacket would be lime green instead, and sometimes the hat would be a stetson or a civil war style hat. He always wore dress shoes specifically because he liked seeing people straighten up in their seats when he walked in the classroom because they made him sound like a professor approaching. Note: there’s nothing wrong with this aesthetic, but he could not pull it off.
One time, I was hanging out with some cool folks I knew and one of them happened to be dating the only person who could stand to be his friend for more than two months, and earlier in the day a security guard gave me a nice umbrella from the lost and found, with like a wooden hook handle. He asked me if he could have it, for free, and I told him no, I needed it to get home, and he ONCE AGAIN screamed at me “come on, man, you know that’s totally my style.” Later, he pulled me aside and told me the rest of the group was too polite to say it but they all hated me and wanted me to leave them alone. A few months later all the folks at the table told me they were actually all thinking that about him.
He was also horrifically racist, often advocating for ethnic cleansing in classes. He was a raging misogynist, openly expressing his hatred of women and ending every argument with “are you on your period?” He kept a photograph of his own penis on his phone so that, whenever someone questioned his manhood, he could show them. That part always confused me, because like, he was willing to sexually harass people by exposing his genitals to them without consent, but apparently didn’t bring his actual penis with him because he had to show them an easily-doctored digital photograph? I’m not saying he should have whipped out his actual dick but I’m surprised he didn’t.
He was in my World War II class and on the first day he told one girl his plan was to “only show up on days with quizzes, tests, and papers, leaving once he turns them in, and getting straight A’s anyway.” Anyone following this strategy might not have read the part of our syllabus saying our professor’s attendance policy, which was that you don’t get credit for a quiz, test, or paper if you leave right after you hand them in, and after a certain number of unexcused absences you lose the entire 20% attendance and participation grade, meaning at the end of the semester he had an average grade of 0%.
For the final paper of the class, we had to write a paper on one of the books from a list provided by the professor, and the syllabus said it had to be a book IN ADDITION TO our assigned textbook and collateral texts. Because some of our class texts were on the list of acceptable books, I accidentally wrote a paper on one of them without realizing it wasn’t allowed. About a week before the paper was due, I asked the professor just to be sure, and he made an announcement clarifying that it wasn’t allowed, and reiterated it in the remaining class sessions. Guess who we hadn’t seen since the last test and wouldn’t see again until the next paper?
Dude turned in a paper on the main class textbook. The professor gave everyone who made this mistake a week’s extension to fix it, but this dude sent the professor an angry email stating that he would not be rewriting his paper and would gladly “rather take a zero” because he felt the professor shouldn’t have said the main text was allowed (he actually explicitly said it wasn’t allowed) and that he “hadn’t learned a thing about World War II” in the class, which we all pointed out was probably because he’d never been to the class. The professor was actually so shocked by the email that he removed this dude’s name and sent it out to the class and explained to us that he doesn’t actually need the papers and he gave us extensions because he wants us to pass, so not turning it in isn’t hurting anyone but us.
Anyone who disagreed with him would, without fail, result in no less than five minutes of sulking. He would literally stay in the area so he could give you dirty looks while he was upset at you. My personal favorite was the time people were debating with the religious zealots shouting on campus and he kept shouting unfunny jokes, and the bible-shouters were using him as an example, and finally I heard a bunch of guys saying “he’s worse than the bible dudes” and “if that dude says one more thing I’m gonna kick his ass” and I finally told him to shut up, that no one thought he was funny, and that he was hurting more than he was helping. He sat down and sulked on a bench for twenty minutes while glaring at me and telling his friends I’d been mean to him for no reason.
Okay, so now that you know about this person I had the displeasure of crossing paths with so many times, here’s some of the many mean nicknames I came up with for him:
The Victorian Error
Jack the Ripper’s Amish Cousin
Beadle Bamford (I know this is two Sweeney Todd references but he really looked like Beadle Bamford)
Guy who wears your granddad’s clothes but doesn’t look incredible
Beardface the Hostile Leprechaun
That pile of sweaty hats that hangs around Chris
Bonus: After the final for that World War II class I was talking to that professor and three of my classmates (who are women) and I told them about that dude’s tendency to end arguments with “are you on your period” and my classmates spent five minutes describing and miming how much they wanted to punch this guy in the testicles. In front of our grinning World War II professor. Who was holding the final exams we just finished taking under his arm.
one of my favorite podcast moments is when jon is in the tour bus with sara watkins and they’re messing around with some songs and she refers to only hope as “the mandy moore song” and jon is like “THE MANDY MOORE SONG??? COME ON”