Tuesday, April 16, 2024
17.8 C


My Account

- Advertisement -

Devil of a job for St Peter

By Don Farmer
[email protected]

It has just occurred to me what a near impossible job St Peter has — presuming calling the roll in Heaven is his job — and also his counterpart in the more tropical downstairs department.

The already massive task must be made many times harder because of a confusing habit we earthlings have invoked for centuries past, that of nicknaming our friends and contemporaries.

Most of us, at least of the male gender, have one or had one in our younger years especially when at school.

For many their nicknames completely erased the actual names bestowed upon them at birth.

Take my own Greytown Primary School class for example.

Robert Yeomans for some inexplicable reason was Hobby, Malcolm Sutherland was called Suth which morphed into Suds, John Saxton was Sack, John Gates was Gutty, John Maxwell was Mackie, Robert Yule became Duck, John Hayes (the older brother of Francis “Frog” Hayes) was Bluet.

A few years in advance of us in age was Rob “Spike” Saxton, Lance “Baldy” McHardy, Allan “Slim” Williams, Robin “Gus” Morris, Alan “Rocky” Stringfellow and a host of others.

Strangely enough the girls seemed to escape being lumbered with a nickname although I am fairly confident among themselves names other than those bestowed upon them by their parents would have been used.

The only semblance of a nickname for a girl I can recall was gifted to Elizabeth Robertson who, to clarify she was a Robertson as opposed to a Robinson, became known to us as Ertson.

I am sure that somewhat unflattering short-end version has long since faded away with Elizabeth’s marriage and the passing of the years.

What has not faded in the memory of many of us who remember her from school was her magnificent singing voice, especially her rendition of Poor Wandering One from a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera. I can hear it still.

Our teachers were not immune from being re-named either.

Maurice Whimp became Herr von Whimp due in part to his upright, somewhat Germanic posture and also to his “Fritz cut” hairstyle.

Don McNabb for unknown reasons was re-named Knobs.

At Kuranui College the foundation teachers were likewise branded with names foreign to their birth certificates.

Popular maths department head Peter Spooner was “Spook”, deputy principal Alan Hunter “Greasy”, David Clements was always referred to as “Clemo” and Peter Harding as “Pegleg Pete.”

The last named was, on reflection, callous as Mr Harding had a stiff, perhaps artificial leg but as he was very popular with the students I am sure the nickname was never intended to be malicious.

You must realise these were days before political correctness had taken hold and stripped life of much of its colour and certainly its humour.

Greytown, as I suspect all towns were, was peppered with adults who likewise were often only known by their nicknames.

“Pop” Rhodes was one, “Spot” Morgan another.

Harry McKenna became “Hurricane Harry” and Roy Murray was “Beesting.”

So you can see St Peter has an unenviable task trying to make sense at an early morning roll call on Cloud Nine and that’s just for Greytown.

Can you imagine his confusion 100 years from now when he has to account for an influx of All Blacks through the ages, assuming they all make it upstairs.

“Kamo, Batts, Goldie, Pinetree, Snakey.”

The last word belongs to St Peter “You must be joking.”

Related Articles

- Advertisement -
clear sky
17.8 ° C
17.8 °
16.6 °
44 %
0 %
19 °
19 °
17 °
19 °
13 °