It's true isn't it? It doesn't really matter what they call us, but, then again, yes it does. I get a different sense from each person that uses one of my monikers. It could be the body language that goes with them or vocal inflections, but I hear them all differently, and I react to them that way. They call me Bill, Billy, Will, Yarg, Yager, William Allen Yarger (especially when I am in trouble), Dude, Wilber, Taco Bill, Bilbo Baggins, Billy-Boy, and yes, sometimes they call me Willie.
My dad called me Willie, but not all the time. He would refer to me as Bill most of the time, but seemed to use Willie as a just- between -us name. For the talks on his knee, I would be Willie. For his life lessons on the farm I'd be Willie, like the time we went there to bury my dog.
|My dad, Paul Cooper Yarger|
I was Willie that morning. I asked my mom today if she remembers dad calling me Willie, but she doesn't. It's a toss up whether it's because of her failing memory or if he didn't do it in front of her, but I remember. He didn't use it often,which made it special to me, and coincidentally since then, only people that I have a special relationship with, have called me Willie.
One of my first bosses, Papa Frank, asked if he could call me Willie. There was a Phil already working there when I started so to avoid confusion, it became Phil and Willie. You'd be surprised how common a custom this is in the foodservice industry. I had a great waiter at Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa this year, named Trebor.
My Mother in Law calls me Willie. I can't really fault her, and after all she gave me the best gift I have ever received in my life, my beautiful bride. She would have guessed the golf ball mono-grammer she gave me a few Christmas's ago was the best gift, but she would have been wrong. That comes in second. It's not like I find all the balls that I lose on the golf courses, but at least everyone else who finds them knows who to thank. I'm pretty fortunate to have the MIL I have, even if she did move into our town. She is happy to have the regular interaction with us that she does, and she rarely turns down an invitation to join us for functions. That's the kind of person Willie likes.
One of my favorite sisters calls me Willie (What? You don't play favorites? How do your siblings know how hard they have to compete to get to the top spot, then? Weird.) I haven't introduced her in the blog yet, so I'll do that now. My sister, Hummingbird, is about 5 years older than me, but she acts and moves like she is 10 years younger. I can categorically say that she is the only sibling I have, that has bitten by the "cleaning bug".
My best friend from high school used to call me Willie, but eventually switched to Wilber, which took on a different meaning. Everybody grows up, but given my choice today I'd have kept him calling me Willie, if it kept him as the same person I went to high school with. It's natural for relationships to ebb and flow, but it still stings when you look back and see how little you have in common now. His dad still calls me Willie. He is still the same as I remember while I was growing up.
My girlfriend, Stretch, calls me Willie. She's not really my girlfriend, she's my exercise buddy, and breakfast companion. I don't know how she started calling me Willie, but it would seem strange to have her call me anything else now. When she does call, it's always to sign me up to work on a charity thing, or to exercise or to go have cocktails. She's my kind of people, she likes to contribute, but she likes to have fun too. I've got a whole blog on her almost finished, let me know if there is interest in hearing more about her, and I'll put in on the front burner.
Lastly, my current boss calls me Willie. He used to manage just the part of my business that fell into Canada (about 15%), but for 2011 he starts to manage all of me. We were peers first, before he became my boss, so the relationship started as equals, and he started calling me Willie. It stuck, but now the relationship is changing. I'm not a big fan of management, it's a character flaw of mine. He likes to know what's going on with his people frequently, which is something I struggle with. I am hoping that the relationship we had prior to his becoming my boss will survive. I thought of him as a mentor but really appreciated our nights out together when he would let his hair down a little. I know he appreciates my sales ability and has already expressed a great willingness to work with me to accomplish the company goals. If I were a betting man, I'd bet things will work our great this year, and he will both continue to mentor me, and call me Willie.
It's kind of an odd blog this week, but one that is perfect for interaction with the readers. Do you have nicknames that carry special meaning? Special people that have pet names for you? Do you respond better to one name or another? Do you hate one of your names or when people call you something in particular? I had a secretary/customer service person for 8 years that hated to be called Mo (her name was Maureen). I didn't find out that fact for years. I still want to call her that now, and catch myself often just before I do. Tell me your stories, and I'll share them with Willie.