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Neighborhood Nicknames – Do They Take the Place of Real Names.

Erasmo "Ray Ray, Raz, Razmatazz, Razzle" Rossi
Erasmo “Ray Ray, Raz, Razmatazz, Razzle” Rossi

Growing up, we had plenty of characters in the neighborhood with nicknames.
Names that were derived from some physical characteristic or maybe a derivation of their real name.

A guy we knew as “Brillo” was dubbed that, because of his kinky hair.

“Doc” was the pharmacist.

“Jimmy the Butcher”, obviously the neighborhood butcher.

“Mary Zip”, because when she cleaned the counter of the neighborhood luncheonette, she made sure to zip up whatever change was left on the counter.

The list is endless.

Names like Little Lollipop…Big Lollipop….Buttons….Big Ralphie….Fat Patty….Johnny Baba…Joey Arms…Bobby Locks… …Bubbles…ChiChi…Turk.

My brother was “Sally Bones” because he was skinny.

My brother in law, to this day, is Charlie Brown, because he looked like the comic strip character. And no, his name is neither Charlie nor Brown.

And me, my family called me Ray Ray…my godfather would call me Razmatazz or Zeke (after the legendary country disc jockey Zeke Manners)…or some of my friends still call me Raz!

You may even be known by your nickname in your professional life. You’ve heard us mention quite often Victor Buddy Amato, the head of the Monmouth County SPCA, or the name of Morris County lawyer “Skippy” Weinstein.

However, there’s a fight or two to list some candidates for public office by their nicknames.

According to this:

A Jersey City council candidate says everyone knows him as ‘Chico’…and therefore wants to run as “Chico”.

A Jersey City man running for City Council in Ward B should not be allowed to use his nickname on the ballot, says the re-election campaign of Mayor Jerramiah Healy.
Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, an aide to Ward B Councilman David Donnelly, is seeking to succeed Donnelly on the nine-member council. City Clerk Robert Byrne had previously allowed Ramchal to use his nickname on the ballot, but Healy’s campaign is asking Byrne to reverse his decision.

Ramchal, 37, said the Healy campaign’s move shows it is worried about his chances in Ward B.

Healy campaign spokesman Joshua Henne noted that Healy is using his own full name on the May 14 ballot.

There is a history of nicknames appearing on Jersey City ballots. Former assemblyman L. Harvey Smith appeared on the ballot without his first name, Leonard, as did former councilman E. Junior Maldonado, whose first name is Eleuterio.

Ramchal said everyone knows him as “Chico,” a nickname his father gave him when he was a baby growing up in Guyana. Ramchal said when his family would go to the grocery store, he would always stick his hand in a jar filled with Chico-brand gum.

If his nickname is excluded from the ballot, Ramchal said, his turnout may suffer.
“Everybody knows me by ‘Chico,’” he said. “You could literally call my house, ask my father, 
’Is Chico home?’ or you could walk West Side Avenue and say, ‘Who’s Chico?’ — everybody’s going to tell you.”

Same with this story:

A Bucks County judge rejects a nickname challenge in the local sheriff’s race.

Nickname or no, Bucks County Sheriff Edward “Duke” Donnelly will remain on the election ballot – at least for now.

On Tuesday, Bucks County Judge Gary B. Gilman rejected a petition from challenger Tom Lingenfelter to have the sheriff removed from the ballot because his nickname connotes a “hereditary distinction or nobility title” and differs from his given, legal name.

Gilman said there was no evidence Donnelly sought to confuse the voters by including his nickname on the ballot for the May primary.

Bucks County Elections Director Deena Dean testified that at least 20 candidates could appear on the ballot this year with chosen nicknames. One such candidate asked to be placed on the ballot as ‘David’ even though his given name is Thomas, she testified. Bucks County Judge Wallace Bateman has also appeared on the ballot with the nickname ‘Skip,’ Dean said.

“It strikes me that if George Herman Ruth was running for office, then there would be no objection to him appearing on the ballot as Babe Ruth,” said Gilman.

Growing up, did you ever know someone by their nickname…without actually knowing their real name? And did you have a nickname?

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