Nicknames were a fact of life. They were never chosen by the person to whom they applied. One guy, who had a deep Texas drawl, was nicknamed "Droop-a-Long". A boiler technician who picked up a dose of gonorrhea at the very first port visit was referred to as "Drippy Dick" by everyone other than the Captain and the XO. One sailor, who tended to be somewhat pear-shaped, was referring to himself as a "real stud" when another sailor interjected "`Stud"? You look more like a `spud' to me!" His nickname was "Spud" from then on.
One nickname backfired on an entire department. The sailors on one ship thought that the Operations Officer had a resemblance to Jerry Lewis. They would refer to him amongst themselves as "Jerry". So one fine day, the Ops Boss was in CIC when he heard someone ask over the 21MC intercom (also known as the "Bitch Box") if "Jerry" was in Combat. The sailor nearest the Bitch Box answered in the affirmative. The Ops Boss knew that there wasn't a sailor in his department named "Jerry", nor was there such an officer.
"Who's Jerry," he wanted to know. Receiving only evasive replies, he asked again in a more demanding tone. More evasion. "Who the fuck is Jerry," he roared, and he was one of those guys that nobody wanted to piss off, for he was not adverse to exacting retribution.
"That's you, sir," one of the radar men said.
"What the fuck are you talking about? My name's not Jerry." The tone of the Ops Boss was between confusion and anger.
"Some of the guys think you look like Jerry Lewis, sir."
"Well, if I'm Jerry Lewis, that makes all y'all `Jerry's kids'," shot back the Ops Boss.
That stuck. From then on, the sailors in the Operations Department were known as "Jerry's kids." And nobody, but nobody, in the Operations Department referred to the Ops Boss anymore as "Jerry".
Alan Ladd Movie
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