A Girl Named Chicken Liver


My mother had a peculiar penchant for giving people weird nicknames. My dad, Theodore, was “Turkey Neck” because his neck was a bit wrinkly. Sometimes he was also “The Odor.” As in The-odor. Get it? Ha ha. Bleh.

I didn’t fare any better. I was “Chicken Liver.” Now, you might remember the Johnny Cash song, “A Boy Named Sue,” in which the title character wasn’t particularly fond of his name, even though it made him a stronger person. I’ve yet to figure out what Chicken Liver was going to do for me—make me realize I hate liver? Well it did that, anyway. For the life of me, I don’t know why my mom saddled me with this clunker. Fortunately, I received a nickname change when I was about three years old. This happened because my mom did not realize that funky nicknames could come back to embarrass her.

We were in the local butcher shop and a man came up to talk to me. “What’s your name, little girl?”

“Chicken Liver,” I said.

The man’s face went from smiling to dumbfounded and my mother went from smiling to embarrassed.

After that, my nickname was “Muffin.”