So, why ARE you called BUDGIE, anyway?

Posted: 22 November 2012 in internet, life, don't talk to me about life, personal
Tags: , ,

I always forget that there are people on Facebook, Twitter, etc. who don’t know how – or from where – I got the nickname budgie.

I mean to say, I’ve had the nickname for over thirty years now, and far more people know me as ‘budgie’ than know me as “Lee”, “Mr Barnett”, or in one case, “Dad”.

But, every so often, I get a number of messages asking for the derivation of the name. And since, in the words of a friend of mine, it’s a story that “bears retelling”, here it is… with apologies if you’ve read this before.

Now what you first have to remember is that when I signed up online, with CompuServe, back in the mid 1990s, it was for fun. This wasn’t work; this was entertainment, this was escapism, this was – in short – fun.

So, when I visited my first online Forum, the Comics and Animation Forum, and saw people not only using handles, but being positively encouraged to use ’em, I ‘reactivated’ the nickname I’d picked up at college but which I had only used for passwords etc. for a few years.

Of course, naïve fool that I was, it didn’t occur to me that people might be curious about the derivation of the nickname. But they were. They most definitely were.

So, in a fit of madness, I said “ok, if anyone wants to know, ask”. Within a couple of days, I had something like 75 requests.

So, I threw it out as a contest: guess the derivation.

I let it run for a week, and then posted something along the lines of the following:

I’ve had suggestions that it’s due to my looks, my liking for an old British television programme starring Adam Faith, my eating habits, my collections, my possible fan-worship of the Duchess of York, possibly being a window-cleaner, being “Bald and Pudgie”, or that I do lots of budgets, being an accountant. [sigh]

And no-one, but no-one, guessed that I was kidnapped as a baby and brought up in the wild by friendly budgerigars.

OK, here’s the true story:

In 1982, I went up to Manchester (North West England) to go to college at Manchester Polytechnic.

I was doing a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance, the results of that course I’m sure you’re too polite to ask about.

Anyway, after a couple of months, I was dragged along to a “hypnotists evening” by some friends on my course, who thought it would be a bit of a laugh. And so it proved to be.. (And no, before you ask, I was not hypnotised into thinking I was a budgerigar. It’s more fun than that… for the other people, anyway…)

By the end of the evening, a fun time had been had by all, watching various friends fall asleep, others regress by only a couple of years down to a mental age of three, and generally being sarcastic and silly about the whole thing.

Of course, inevitably, just as I was about to leave, someone suggested that the hypnotist have a crack at “doing Lee”.

As one who was at that time ‘game for a laugh’ – my, how that’s changed – I said OK, and the very next thing I remember was everyone laughing their socks off.


…and here it comes, folks, this is what you’ve been waiting for.

Apparently, I had been hypnotised into believing that I had a small budgie in my pocket. I had taken it out, watched it fly around the room, put it into one pocket and taken it out of another – that sort of thing.

As far as I was concerned, that would have been it. One more evening that you look back at and cringe. Except that when I walked into lectures the following morning, Dave Rothburn (one of the cronies I hung around with) yelled out in front of 120 students (and the lecturer) in his best impersonation of that bloke on Carson’s Show, “He-e-e-e-r-r-r-e’s Budgie!

The name stuck.

Not only did the name stick, but I was, by the end of three years at college, far better known as Budgie than as Lee.

It gets worse. About five years after leaving college, I bumped into someone at a function that I’d been at college with, had been quite good friends with, but hadn’t been in contact with since we both left college. We were, understandably enough, delighted to see each other. She introduced me to her husband with the immortal line :

“John, this is…erm..erm. oh, hell, this is Budgie – I’m ever so sorry, I’ve forgotten…erm, I only ever knew you as Budgie!”

So that’s it – I hope the story was worth it….

Now it’s your turn – nickname and derivation please, the more embarrassing for both, the better.

  1. Kayla says:

    I see nobody replied to your invitation!

    Pops (or Poppins when family wanted to be more “formal”). Apparently there are two possibilities: 1) as a baby & toddler I could fall asleep anywhere and was constantly “popping off” (I wish I could now, chronic insomnia is so much fun); 2) As a baby I had severe wind problems and was constantly “popping off”. Most stopped calling me by that name around age 13 or 14, but there are still a few aunts & cousins that persist even now I’m 47 (I don’t get cute about my age).

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s