Did Other Kids Make Fun of Your Name? They Sure Did Mine

As it turns out, “Jeff Kay” made it easy on ’em. And here’s a rundown of the main super-creative crap that was heaped upon me, for most of my public school career. Bravo, assholes. Bravo!


kmartWhen I was a kid, Kmart was a big deal. It was incredibly popular, and basically what Walmart is today. On weekends the parking lots would be so crowded they probably should’ve provided a shuttle service.

But in the kid world Kmart was a joke. “Where’d your mom get that shirt, Kmart?” was a put-down. And when somebody would show up wearing some non-approved brand of sneakers, they were immediately dubbed “Kmart dobies.” It’s what they called uncool shoes at our school: dobies. I have a feeling it might’ve been a regional word, but am not sure.

Also, there were a lot of jokes about Kmart’s “blue light specials.” Remember those? They had rolling carts, with a long pole attached, and a blue flashing light at the top? Occasionally an over-caffeinated person would shout over the PA system: “Attention Kmart shoppers! For the next ten minutes only, in the mortification aisle, we’re having a blue light special on anti-fungal power-douche tampons for the male penis! Don’t miss out on the savings!”

So, regardless of the hold Kmart obviously had on adults… it was nothing but a joke to us kids. And, needless to say, I was called Jeff Kmart roughly a million times between the ages of 9 and 17. Ahhh… such pleasant memories.

K Burger

kennysIn my hometown there used to be a shitty fast food restaurant, called Kenny’s. I think it was part of a small chain, and they could never really figure out what they were doing. They sold burgers and stuff, like McDonald’s. But also fried chicken, and possibly roast beef sandwiches. I don’t really have a clear memory of it, except that it sucked ass.

One thing I do remember, though: their signature burger — their Big Mac — was called the K Burger. So, I got a lot of that, too. “Hey look, here comes K Burger.”

Yes, I went to school with some world-class wits. Basically, it was like the Algonquin Round Table, in the streets of Dunbar, West Virginia every day.

Burger Chef & Jeff

burger chef and jeff
Burger Chef is a defunct fast food chain that wasn’t nearly as horrible as Kenny’s. I actually kinda liked it. I remember they had a “works bar,” where you could add whatever you wanted to your burger. That was some nifty stuff in 1974.

But their mascots, or whatever, were cartoon characters called Burger Chef and Jeff. Burger Chef looked a little like the Quaker Oats dude, and was always accompanied by a young boy (in a matching chef uniform, with scarf), named Jeff. I’m not sure about their relationship. Forbidden love? It’s probably best not to speculate.

Here’s an old TV commercial, that’ll give you a general idea about the whole Burger Chef and Jeff thing.

And since my name is Jeff… Good stuff.

K (as in strikeout)

strikeoutsWhile keeping score in baseball, a strikeout is recorded as a K. I don’t know why. I could Google it, I guess, but don’t have that much energy. Or interest. If I remember correctly, it takes three strokes o’ the pencil to write a K, and three strikes yer out… Something to do with that.

In any case, baseball announcers use “K” interchangeably with “strikeout.” They say things like, “Last two times up, Morgan K’d,” and that sort of thing.

So… I got to hear about it when I was a kid. And it didn’t help matters that I wasn’t a very good batter. In Little League I struck out a lot, so the jokes wrote themselves.

“Ha, here comes Kay, again. He’s gonna K! Don’t worry about it! Kay always K’s!!”

“How about I take this bat, and stick it up your ass?”

“Did you hear that? K Burger wants to put things in my ass!”

Jeff Gay

village people 2And that leads me to the final category… the granddaddy of them all. Even more often than Jeff Kmart, I’ve been called Jeff Gay during my life. Sheesh.

The first time I ever heard it was from a mean girl in grade school, named Karen M. It was in 3rd grade, or thereabouts, and wasn’t even sure what it meant. Jeff Gay? Is that supposed to be an insult of some kind? I don’t get it.

That little psycho also attacked a girl named Cathy one day, and hit her in the stomach with the wooden box she rested her feet on — because they wouldn’t reach all the way to the floor when she sat at her desk. Prepubescent homophobic slurs… foot box assaults… oh, that little bitch could do it all.

Yes, I’ve endured all of the above, and more. What about you? Did kids make fun of your name? If so, please tell us about it in the comments. And if you’re lucky enough to be named Joe Smith, or whatever, and escaped all this… just tell us about the kids you knew who got it the worst.

And I’ll see you guys next time.

Have a great day!

Want to help support the cause? Buy Jeff a beer! Nothing says ‘I care’ like beer.


  1. I was called Dirty Dick Dave due to an unfortunate incident with a girl in school.

    • Kevindust says

      Dave, Please provide details of this harrowing adventure while taking solace in the anonymity of the interwebs.

    • Ron from PA says

      Did you really think that you would be able to leave it at that?! On THIS site?

  2. Lew in Bama says

    Carrie…. so I got Scary Carrie. A lot. All the way up through my 20’s. Some people STILL do it. Ummm, hello, almost 40…give it a rest.
    Hairy Carrie was less common, but just as annoying.
    Hey, why don’t you carry my “fill in the blank” for me?

    Another has to do with my last name. So it begins with the letters LEW and is horribly difficult to pronounce…so I was know as CarrieLew…for years people actually thought my parents were SUPER country and gave me the double first name of Carrie Lou….like Becky Sue or Tammy Fay or Billy Ray. It was annoying as heck.

  3. Jazzbone Swirly says

    I don’t understand the picture of the Village People located under the ‘Jeff Gay’ section of your post. There’s nothing gay about that musical group. Nothing at all.

    • Bill in WV says

      Due to Internet restrictions and Jeff trying his best not to offend anyone, he refrained from posting the other Village People picture. You know, the one where the construction worker dude is giving it to Sitting Bull up the keister.

    • Jazzbone Swirly says

      I suppose that someone is going to try and convince me that Liberace was gay, too.

    • It must have been really tough growing up with the name Jazzbone Swirly.

      • Jazzbone Swirly says

        Yeah, people would make fun of me and make up normal-sounding names to call me, like ‘John’, or ‘Edward’, or ‘James’. I’m still in a lot of pain because of this.

  4. Growing up, not so bad. As an adult, I’ve had to endure ridicule by as assortment of ignorant assholes. First name Doug. Nothing overwhelmingly extraordinary about that. I get emails from client and supplier representatives, calling me Dock, Drog, Dong (personal favourite), Dog and a host of variants of that. It’s not an overly fucking complex name, can people get with the program?

  5. Brenda Love says

    Brenda Love – Lace
    Thank is all.

  6. My last name is McDonald. It was brutal.

    • Ron from PA says

      Mine given name is Ronald (only my Mom and the Teachers called me that) so I got the same damn thing.

  7. I like going to the Kmart in our town. It’s like a step back to 1987.
    It’s also always empty. I assume that if there was a larger porno production market in my town, they would go to Kmart to film all the public fucking scenes. There’s no way anyone would ever be there to catch them. I think Kmart incorporated keeps this place open just on principle.

  8. Michael McDevitt says

    McDevitt. You can imagine. I’ve forgotten most of them, but one sticks out – McDeadButt. Pure genius.

    BTW, I still have a vintage 1974 glow-in-the-dark Burger Chef & Jeff Official Frisbee.

  9. madz1962 says

    First name – Madeleine – you can get a goddamn cramp in your hand writing it and everyone misspells it. Plus, growing up all my friends with normal names like Ann and Mary got those little personalized license plates for their bicycles. They never carried my name. Sometimes, to this day, I still look. I guess it did leave a scar being ostracized from the “personalized” world.

    Last name – well, if you dropped and added some letters, you could creatively come up with Labrador. As a geeky, insecure girl in a new school, being called basically DOG stung.

    • johnthebasket says

      Madeleine is a pretty name. As you point out, there are a number of ways to spell it, but the sound is euphonious.


      • madz1962 says

        Awwwww thanks, jtb!

        Funny, as much as I disliked my own name, I refused to be call the more hip and modern “Maddy”

        • johnthebasket says

          The neighbor’s daughter, Madeliene, was Maddie from birth. She’s now a scholarship academic and volleyball player, headed off to college. For the last 18 years, I’ve been the only one in her life to call her Madeliene, including her parents. There are three Maddie’s in her graduating class and no Madelienes or Madeleines or Madilines.


          • Funny, a friends daughter named Madeline who I knew all her life got upset when I called her Medeline instead of Maddy!

  10. I never heard of K-Mart until the late 1990s. The one here in Morgantown closed up last winter.

    I think all we had in Fairmont was G.C. Murphy/Murphy’s Mart/McCroy’s.

    I use to get called a lot of stuff due to my last night.

    • We had a G.C. Murphys in Pensacola, Florida when I was a kid (early 70″s).

      I LOVED that place…big bins of loose toys (not packaged in apocolypse-resistant plastic)

      Plus, Santa Clause parachuted into the parking lot every December. It was in a strip mall, and the anchor store was an upscale department store named (wait for it)…….GAYFERS!

      • I was a model builder when I was a kid/teenager. That is where I use to get my model kits.

        • Brenda Love says

          My mother worked at our G.C. Murphys when she and my Dad split up. G.C. Murphys merchandise was my babysitter for a few years. That’s where I decided I DID want to listen to an album called “KISS ALIVE”……because that thing looked SO darned interesting!

  11. name

  12. SaucyDeb says

    Little boys always thought De-bra was hilarious. And don’t even get me started on Debbie Does Dallas. I actually embraced that one a little bit though. I did a radio show for a little while about 15 years ago called “Super 70’s Saturday Night”. My radio name was Dallas in homage.

    There was s BBQ place in town called Dickie-Doo-BBQ. My family called me Debi-Doo-BBQ forever. My brothers eventually just cut it down to “Doo” for short. Good times…

  13. Jeannette says

    I went by Jenny as a kid, so the worst I ever got was Jenny Penny. BUT, everyone still knew my real name was Jeannette, so occasionally I heard that Gillette jingle with my name…Jeannette, the best a man can get. That was weird for 2nd graders to be saying. Always made me feel oogey.

    My last name rhymed with Farter…but thankfully only my brother got teased with that one. Probably because he earned it.

    • johnthebasket says

      I’m not in charge of awards around here, but “oogey” is a terrific word. Although I’ve never heard it, its meaning is precisely clear from context. I’d give that usage a gold medal and a blue light special.


  14. Try “Gordon” for size… I mean… There was that punk song “Gordon is a moron”. There’s Gormless Gordon.. Then there was the puppet that was all over kids tv in the UK when I was young. Gordon the Gopher. That furry little bastard made my childhood a misery.

  15. eeyoresmama says

    Try having a totally non-Catholic name in Catholic grade school back in the 50s. Was even asked how could my parents have named me such a name. Pastor of our parish would belittle me in front of class, refused to give me my report cards because I didn’t have a name. Twisted my name around, and laughed when the other kids picked up on it. I could probably sue that SOB for harassment now. Like Madz said, no little license plate with my name either. To this day, no one can spell it right. Hell, even members of my own family don’t spell it the same. And it’s a lot simpler than some of those out there now.

    • madz1962 says

      So? Are you going to tell us? (I went to Catholic school too. And when it came time to pick Confirmation names,, I wanted “Cecelia” for the Simon & Garfunkle song. But the penguin pulled a fast one on us and made us explain why we chose the saint we did, how they got to be a saint etc. So I choked and went with Elizabeth).

      • eeyoresmama says

        I got stuck with St. Thomas Aquinas for a patron saint – and yes, I am female. They wouldn’t let me chose my Mother’s name or her middle name, Margaret. Nasty old biddies. Her name was Mercedes and she went through school being told there was no St. Mercedes. But by the time I was in high school, we had a Sister Mercedes teaching. Though I did get to choose Suzanne for Confirmation, my Great-Grandmother’s name .

        • I did some work at a local theatre years ago. One of the plays we did was called Sister Mary Explains it All for You. The plot line is a group of 20-somethings going back to their old school to see Sister Mary. Sister Mary was aghast that a former pupil had named her daughter Wendy, saying “…there was no Saint Wendy!”

  16. Judy Patootie – was the least of my worries.
    I was called slat legs, piano legs, skinny minnie,
    Judy with the good bootie
    Judy the cootie (spelled cutie by some dumb guy who couldn’t spell)

  17. FutureCrazyCatLady says

    People were brutal about having clothes from Kmart, yet nearly everyone had some apparel from Kmart. I loved going there for that giant aisle of albums with the bottom row all the way down the aisle being old albums for cheaps. There was treasure to be found on that bottom row. Mom could shop as long as she wanted, and I never got bored.

    Last name is really uncommon, so no one pronounces it right the first time, but people in my school were so mean that they didn’t bother much with name-twisting. They came right out with nicknames like Germ, Hunchback, Booger Eater, and Old Ass Hair (that poor kid had short curly hair and started developing male pattern baldness in grade school).

    We didn’t know what gay was yet, either, but one kid who had the last name Gay used to swear he would name any child he had Ben.

    • I had some K-Mart pants that had alternating panels (front of the legs were red on one side & white on the other, the reverse in the back, plus the back pocket panels were red on white & white on red).

      I thought I was too cool for (catholic) school…

  18. Skippy in WV says

    My name is Mike, write your own joke… There was one kid his last name contained almost every letter of the alphabet, except. Everyone, including teachers just called him “Eyechart”.

  19. Roger Dodger and Roger Ramjet. I just looked up the Roger Ramjet cartoon. It was so low budget, I always assumed it was a Canadian production.

  20. Airandee says

    Myself and my two brothers were named Eric, David and Dennis. So we were airdick, davedick and dendick. It is how adolescents roll.

    The mother of a friend growing up worked at k-fart. He heard about it all the time. “Did your mom have a blueball special?”

  21. Cornbread says

    To this day I’m still known as Russell the love muscle.

  22. I never really got any name-mockery to speak of; my name is pretty unremarkable.

    I remember Burger Chef existing, but I don’t think I ever ate there. It seemed a little too incrediburgible.

    My nearby K-Mart closed its doors last year.

  23. My maiden name was Box…and I’m a female. No further explanation needed.

    I remember when my son asked me what “gay” meant (probably in elementary school) and I told him it meant “happy”, “cheerful”, etc. He has never forgiven me for that.

  24. I went to middle school in the 1980s with a girl whose last name was Massengill…

  25. Rachael Smith says

    My maiden name is Dickenson. Nuff said, right? Nope, I got teased almost as much for the way I constantly had to correct teachers on the spelling. Dick-E-nson I had to say constantly. Apparently, my name was supposed to be spelled with two I’s. But, the dick thing was comedy gold…

  26. Phantom Railfan says

    I got “Andy Panda” a lot, after a cartoon character almost nobody remembers anymore. Also, the first syllable of my last name rhymes with a well-known slang term for a homosexual, so I heard that, too.

    I went to school with a lot of kids with Polish and other eastern European surnames, and it was usually difficult enough to pronounce them correctly, let alone make jokes out of them.

  27. The Divine Miss E says

    My first name is Erin, so I was called Airhead all through elementary school. A real stretch of the imagination there. My last name is one of those Polish names no one can figure out, so one of my coworkers started calling me Seahorse, as that’s close to the most popular mispronounciation of it.

    A friend of mine’s maiden name is Cantu, and she said she heard enough “Can not!” jokes in high school to last the rest of her life.

    • revashane says

      I’m an Erin too. Interesting that your little bastards never came up with “Urine”

  28. Not a whole the other heathens could do with my name. Chuck; the sound of a hammer hitting rotten wood. So I was spared the trauma. I remember a Burger Chef, and I still buy shirts at K-Mart!!

  29. Shelly Warner says

    My name is Shelly so naturally it was “smelly Shelly has jelly in her belly”. Ah … good times.

  30. Alma wasn’t so bad in elementary school. No nicknames. But junior high was a different story. Elmo (before the furry red puppet), Elmer’s glue, and Alpo. Yes, the dog food. Great for the self-esteem.

    And then try pronouncing it . . . not all-ma or el-ma. Tho’ I do answer if someone says it like that. It’s a Spanish ‘a’ sound that is much softer. In my teen years, I’d always hear an adult say, “Oh, I have an aunt in the Midwest with that name.” So, now my name is older than the hills and does not belong in California.

    And to this day, I cannot find ANY personalized anythings . . . sheesh!

  31. My last name sort of rhymes with turkey, so, for a while, I was known as turkey ******. Not too terrible. Worse was probably the name calling I dished out, I was such an asshole when I was younger, it seemed if you weren’t dishing it out it was being dished on you, so I fell to the darkside. For shame. Mea culpa, mea culpa mea maxima culpa.

  32. Well, my first name is Rob, surname is Cherry!

    So, anyone much older than me in the 70s/80s would simply say ‘Bob Cherry’! Oh, like Billy Bunters Friend?

    Whilst anyone my own age ……..,,,,,,,,,:-)

    But, it was fun in my early teens when the American girls from the local airbases would ask if I still had my Cherry 🙂

  33. boattripper says

    All I can say is my last name is spelled the same as a word you find on packages of bathroom—— or facial ——

    Oh the trauma!

  34. We had a girl in school named Sandy Hatch. Of course, everyone called her Handy Snatch. I also was familiar with a girl named Anita Groom. Get it, I need a groom? Ha Ha Also, always enjoyed the last name of Lomme as in Blow Me Lomme. Which leads me to the abuse I took over my last name. Let’s just say it ryhmed with Stinkula or Dracula. Very nice. Somehow I managed to coninvnce myself that I had the greatest last name in the world and everyone else could just go pound sand. Sideways. On a slant. You get the picture.

  35. My name is Celeste. It rhymes with almost universally bad things: pest, molest, incest, etc. No one ever had anything nice to say about my name when I was a kid. Also, it was misspelled in every possible way.

  36. Bill in WV says

    I wonder if Dick Van Dyke was called Penis Van Lesbian much?

  37. The Divine Miss E says

    That reminds me. Every time I see a pic of Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and their kids, I always think that it’s a good thing they’ll probably never go to regular school because that one kid is named Shiloh Pitt. How could her parents not see “Pile O’Shit” coming?

  38. My name is Tabitha. Its not terrible,.but I was born during the Bewitched years. My father chose my name because Bewitched was his mother’s favorite show and to just annoy my mother.
    Fast forward to the present and I have been asked at least one million times if I can wiggle my nose and make magic.
    I used to just fake laugh a politely say no. Now I tell people if I could, they would be screwed.

  39. Mookie325 says

    With the unbearably common name Michael, had to be inundated with the “Michael, Michael, motorcycle” & “Give it to Mikey, he’ll eat anything (and later “anyone”). Would have been nice if it stopped after grammer school, but sadly seemed to last into high school. Work at a fairly large company now and there are 12 different Mikes that work there and at any given meeting there are anywhere from 4-8 of us. Anytime anyone says “Mike” , all of us say “Whut??”. Very sad..

  40. Nads is short for Nadler. I got gonads, then Ralph Nader ran for president, and I was Ralph, which is a euphemism for throwing up. In high school I was a photographer, like Felix Unger from the Odd Couple, so I was Felix. Makes perfect sense.

  41. Jersey Scott says

    As a kid when your first name is Scott you hear “Snot” a good deal. I also got grief from my sisters based on my middle name. I was a husky child (as the marketing wizards at Sears labelled us ) and I suppose “Marshall” sounds just enough like “Marshmallow”. Then there’s the issue that the school’s mailing list only allowed 6 letters for a middle name …”MARSHA, MARSHA, MARSHA !”

  42. Apparently I was surrounded by budding masters of poetry in elementary school, this one seemed to be their favorite:

    “Shawn Shawn leprechaun, went to school with nothing on” which was recited in a taunting manner. Fuckers.

  43. I still remember the name of one of my high school classmates. He was a nice guy, but I’m sure the masters of comedy had a field day when roll call happened and the teacher said: “Dickson Hand”

  44. Jason Jason Masturbation.

    • johnthebasket says

      I think, technically, Jeff’s question is what did they call you when you were YOUNGER.


  45. Last name “Dozier. ” (DOH-ZSHUR) So I got “bulldozer”…kinda cool actually. I moved around a lot as a kid, and the taunting little fuckasses got irked when the new kid wouldn’t get bent when they called him “bulldozer.” I just said “that’s funny” and went about my business.

  46. The Jenkem King says

    First name Howard,,,,named after my dad.

    I was the only kid in several grades at school with the first name of Howard.

    I got ‘Howard The Duck’ now and then and a few people thought it was cut to call me ‘Howie’.

    Overall, I can’t complain too much, it could have been worse.

    There were kids at school with names like Jack Moore.

  47. I used to work on Kidney Machines and I’d get called P. Little.

  48. Took a lot of abuse over my last name but I work with a guy who really took it in the shorts. Last name Dover, first name Ben. He had very cruel parents.

  49. johnthebasket says

    Right now, whatever you’re doing, tell the boss you’ll be available in an hour and a half, and plug into Marc Maron’s conversation with Billy Gibbons, which dropped at a minute after midnight this morning.

    Billy is two months older than me, and if I could remember all the people and places and dates Billy can, I’d be a happy man. The stories are wonderful; Billy is an American treasure, and caps off an hour of wild recollections by playing a Ry Cooder arrangement of “Billy the Kid” on a cigar box guitar.

    Maron makes no bones about being a fawning fan — something he doesn’t do that often — but it’s Billy Fucking Gibbons fer Christ’s sake. Ninety minutes of joy.


  50. We had a kid named Nils in our class and we loved to tell him without his S he was nothing. It was funny the first time.

  51. My last name is Pearce which always got turned into Pee-Arse. Fortunately, I was bigger than most of the other kids so if anyone called me that, they only called me that once.

  52. Mike. Life cereal commercials. Plus I was fat. That wasn’t terribly helpful.

  53. Julie Drooley, or Smurf because I was the shortest person in the school. I would hear the Smurf theme song as I walked down the halls. When the new Smurfs Movie just came out, I went through a lot of repressed memories of Junior High School.

  54. I got Amanda HugandKiss in high school. But wasn’t as bad as my friend whose last name was Cox. She got imagined middle names such as sucks, licks, blows, etc. No wonder she got married at 17. Easiest way to change your name