By Joey Jackson –
Puff, Jay, Milhouse – all students here at Penn Manor…but those can’t be their real names – who are they really?
There are always those kids who don’t go by their real name. Some because they don’t like their given names, others are forced into a name they don’t even like.
Brandon Schmertz was once a victim of this form of name calling. Schmertz used to only be known to his peers as “Puff” after his classmate, former Penn Manor student Matt Ulmer, noticed how puffy Schmertz’s old Eagles jacket was.
“That’s all anybody ever called him,” senior Dylan Weber said. “I don’t think I called him his real name a single time in middle school.”
Schmertz, however, never particularly enjoyed the name, and worked hard in his middle school and early high school career to get rid of the name altogether.
“I was growing up and frankly the name was just getting annoying,” Schmertz said. “I was extremely hard for people to stop calling me Puff.”
This effort paid off, as Schmertz now goes by his given name, Brandon, full time, other than a few people who still hold on to the remnants of his past name.
Some other students though, embrace their new found names.
Take Michael Andrusisin for example. Michael is known by a different name among his friends and classmates. He goes by the name of Milhouse, or Mil for short.
Andrusisin has had the famous nickname since elementary school because his friends thought that he looked like Milhouse, the character from the widely popular television show The Simpson’s.
The name has stuck ever since, even though Andrusisin has changed his visual appearance, and now has little to no resemblance of the character that originally inspired the name.
These changes, Andrusisin claims, had nothing to do with the name. Andrusisin, like a victim of grief, went through several stages before finally accepting his new name.
The nickname has become so prominent that some people didn’t even know that Michael Andrusisin was his real name.
“I played D-team football with him in like third grade and I barely realized that (Michael Andrusisin) was his real name when I got to know him in high school,” said senior Landon Alecxih.
Andrusisin plans to kill the Milhouse name after graduation, as he plans to introduce himself as “Mike” to his new classmates at Temple University.
There are many other popular nicknames within the realm of high school. And amazingly, the most popular ones seem to be the names that have nothing to do with the person’s real name like a common nick names.
Take Jordan Rineer for example. Rineer has been called “Gordo” ever since he was a little kid when when his dad coined the name. The name caught on in elementary school and has stuck ever since.
Or Wardell Jackson, who is known to everyone, including his teachers, as Jay.
So, it seems that all it takes for a good nickname is a catchy name that has absolutely nothing to do with the person’s legal name, though the parents will probably never adapt to the name, peers and sports buddies will be using it all the time.