Saturday, January 01, 2005

The origin of a nickname

Many people have written me to ask how I came up with Mojoey. The answer is simple. I did not come up with it. Like any nickname, it was given to me by others. I’ve had many nicknames over the years. Every thing from “Red”, to “The Mad Irishman”, to ” big guy” and even “grumpy”. A friend from work even calls me "Shrek", which I think is halariouis. I picked up Mojoey by way of a linguistic accident while working in France in 99. The staff of the facility I was working in referred to me a Gros Joe (pronounced “Grow Jo”). Now Grow Jo was not a pretty nickname, they were making fun of me because I was twice their average size and weight. I was not offended, but some of my American co-works were quite taken aback by this. They resolved to find me a better nickname.

We worked long and hard while in France. We were doing a BaaN ERP implementation under incredible pressure and intense deadlines. People’s jobs were at stake. The team, The French included, worked 70 hour weeks for months on end. It was really quite remarkable. One way we were able to keep working so hard was that the facility had a very nice kitchen on-site. We sat down to group lunches every day and rarely discussed work, but instead took the time to get to know each other.

I had developed a habit of ordering steak and eggs for lunch because I was doing the Atkins thing. I needed to communicate my order to the cook each day. She tried to speak to me in English, while I tried in to speak to her in French. I got better at ordering over time, but her English never did improve. Somebody told her that in English, all letter are pronounced, so she starting pronouncing my name Joey instead of Joe with a silent ‘e’. However, she did not extend this custom to other English words, like ‘more’, she pronounced it “Mo”. Combined together, it was common to hear her screech “Mo Joey” at the top of her lungs when my lunch was ready. What she was trying to say was “more of the same boring steak and eggs is ready, come and get it”. It often sounded like she was offering me more, but there were no second helpings in the cafeteria; it would have been bad form.

Over time, a few of my American coworkers would pick up the tagline “mojoey” whenever we were in the cafeteria. Mojoey quickly replaced the less popular “Grow Jo” and a new nickname was born. I let it die when I came home in 2000, but picked it up again while at Grad School. My initial blogging experiences while using my real name were bad. I got lots of hate mail and a few death threats, so I. switched to Mojoey early on. It kind of fits too.

So, now you know. Thanks for asking.


Magiaeon said...

Great story, mojoey! But now the death threat thingy? Over your blog posts? Come on, mojoey - who would ever do such a thing? It couldn't be those meek, mild-mannered, Jesus-loving Christians, could it? Say it isn't so!

Anonymous said...

Interesting. It's always fun learning how somebody earns a nickname.

Anonymous said...

I read the story and was convinced that MoJoey is a better one! By the way I added that name to my blog.

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