Smooch Cat

Since my obsession with names is out of the bag, here’s a fun fact about me: I also enjoy a good nickname. I don’t know why, but I like calling people things that isn’t the name they were given at birth—especially if they were given a long one. And you would think that because I’m so particular with names, that I wouldn’t like nicknames at all—but no, you’d be wrong.

Just about every one of my siblings have a nickname: Jo, Bri, Cake, and Budrick (I don’t count Rick, because that might as well be the name on his birth certificate). I have a nickname for almost every friend I’ve ever had (i.e.: Nette for Jeanette, Mahoogan for Megan, Shniv for Olivia—the list goes on). I even used to call Nanny “Nanners” because it was more fun to say.

But with a name like mine, you don’t really get any cute nicknames. When I was little, I had cute nicknames, like Manda Panda and Smooch Cat. My Dad used to call me Amanda-Panda-Punkin-Anda. Don’t ask me why. He also came up with calling Heinrich Buddy Lee, which is how Buddy stuck with him. He’s a weird guy.

I also had Manny and Mandy as alternatives when I was a little girl, but that stopped early in my life, for some unknown reason to me. I don’t really remember being called either name growing up, but I’ve come across them in home videos or on old Christmas cards. (Edit: Now that I think about it, my Uncle Guido still calls me Manny every once in a blue moon.)

In middle school, I was given my favorite nickname, Danger, by my favorite teacher at the time, Mr. Carvalheira. I loved how ironic it was, and how somebody had called me something other than Amanda, in an endearing way, for the first time in a long time. I was more used to A-man-duh, which is still literally the most unoriginal and annoying nickname on the face of the Earth. But I digress.

It was back to Amanda until my senior year of high school, when my favorite teacher at that time, Mr. Chamberlin, straight up called me by my last name, Hazard. I don’t know if it’s just me, but something badass comes out of being called by your last name. It just felt cool to me, I don’t know, man.

Then college came around, and Tyler gave me Caution. And then he graduated, and Hazzy became my name, thanks to my roomates, Mahoogan and Shniv. Those names were pretty badass too, in my opinion. I loved them. I even carried Hazzy with me to social media when I changed my tag from mandolin.hazard on Instagram to amanda.hazzy. Which reminds me; Cait started calling me Mandolin after I gave her Cake The Snake (but she pronounces it as Man-DOH-lin, instead of MAN-duh-lin).

I think the cutest of all the nicknames I’d ever been given was Smooch Cat, although I’m still not sure how it came to be. It was a name Oma gave me when she used to watch me and Brianna, way before school even became a thing in our lives. I was Oma’s Smooch Cat, and Brianna was her Velcro. At least Bri’s nickname was obvious—she was a really clingy kid—but I never understood mine. I would just answer to it, as if it were Amanda in a foreign language.

She doesn’t call me it anymore; she hasn’t in years. I don’t even know if she remembers calling me that, I never bothered to ask. It’s just kind of like this little memory, tucked away, safely, in a soft area of my brain.

Prompt: What is the cutest nickname someone has for you?

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A twenty-two year old who lives through words and her Netflix account. She makes herself laugh more than others, and she claims that she is okay with that.

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