Pet Names
We named my first (and only) cat Sophie, after a friend’s turtle. Oh, wait a moment. I wanted to discuss invented terms for things in our lives. Humans are quirky and come up with various ways to amuse themselves. One of those ways is to devise a funny name for things.
This differs from a widely accepted alternative name for something like a beer is sometimes called “brew.” Sometimes, these terms are a mild putdown or a way to express frustration. They are also used to add a bit of joy to our lives. So, I thought it would be amusing to write down my list of pet names and explain their background.

Chadwick Time
In college, we had a friend Chadwick, who was always 10-15 minutes late. So, whenever somebody was late, we always said, “They are on Chadwick Time.”

Salad Problem
There used to be a great restaurant chain called Pat and Oscars that changed to Oscars that changed to O’s. They went under during Covid but had a quirk when they first opened. As part of their initial promotions, they would drop off an extra salad, and by the end of our meal, we would have a mountain of leftover salad bowls. Hey, want to go to Salad Problem tonight?

Expensive Sandwiches
There is a small restaurant at the San Diego Glider Port. It is a fun place to eat with a fantastic view, but there is one problem. They were super pricy. A sandwich costs $15.

Time-Waster 2000
My boss once tasked me with writing a design checklist to remind him of the steps. (We had wonderful memories and did not need this silliness.) This list insulted us so when I told everybody about it, I called it the Time-Waster 2000. Yes, this got back to him. Yes, I got in trouble.

Fiction Writers Anonymous
I coined this term for the marketing department at a former company. They invented all kinds of wild lies to promote our products.

Hair Dryer
My mechanic invented this term to describe turbochargers. My first car had one, and when I drove fast, I would say, “The hair dryer is doing its job.”

Christmas Tree
One of my high school friends was a plumber’s assistant during summer vacations. Sometimes, he would run out of fittings and have to get creative. The senior plumber called the resulting Rube Goldberg creation a Christmas Tree.

Target Makers
This is what the mechanical engineers called civil engineers at my college. It was also a popular term at a defense contractor I worked for.

My mother invented this pet name for the television remote control. “Where is dingy?” was a common phrase in our house. Side note. We now call it “remoteee.”

This is a pet name my mother invented for pet food. It applied to cat, dog, bird and guinea pig food. It was funny to watch her ask the dog, “Do you want Friskies?”

The Pool
A pet name my wife invented for the toilet. For some reason, sexual organs and toilets have the most pet names.

Good Gary (AKA Less-Evil Gary) and Evil Gary
In college, I had two friends, Gary Rush and Gary Mah but we could not call them Gary, so we had to come up with nicknames. Good Gary (Mah) and Evil Gary (Rush). In time, the nickname evolved, and Good Gary became Less-Evil Gary.

Waffle Stompers
This is the name my father invented for hiking boots.

Since the invention of email, people have called postal mail “Snail-Mail.” When I walked to the mailbox, I would say, “I’m getting the Snail-Mail” which evolved to “getting the snail.”

Using pet names is fun, but a writer must be careful. Invented terms need to be fully defined, put into context, and used sparingly. For example, in an upcoming book, I wrote: Fortunately, I had my “waffle stompers” (a name my father invented for hiking boots) in my backpack, and I put them on. The pet name in this context is amusing and brings a bit of joy to readers. However, if a character kept feeding their dog “Friskies” without an explanation, it would be confusing.
Hopefully, you had some fun reading my invented terms, and perhaps you will incorporate them into your own life.

You’re the best -Bill
November 07, 2023
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