A Rose By Any Other Nickname
Column written by on Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Election time has returned and Ste. Genevieve again offers the most interesting slate of candidates on the political horizon. Between County and City elections, citizens there can vote for a veritable menagerie. Duck is running. Incumbents Toupie and Rabbit run, and those they run against have the odd names.
Why does Ste. Genevieve field such eye catching nominees? The male nickname reigns supreme in Ste. Genevieve. Tradition robs men of every age of their given names, replacing their family's preference with arbitrary monikers. Don't look for rhyme or reason in the Ste. Genevieve phone directory. Bear is not a big man, Rabbit is neither fast nor prolific, Duck doesn't look, walk or quack like one.
Like many traditions, this one hinges on football. Two teams, one Catholic, one public, compete for state championships and local dominance in Ste. Genevieve. In the intensity of the rivalry, two coaches have been allowed to rename each player in the two schools. As it turns out, this includes almost every male in the community since the small town fields two teams.
If you are a male in Ste. Genevieve, failing to go out for football is the only fate worse than losing. Each player loses his name as soon as he assumes his duties on the field. The nickname becomes permanent as soon as it is bestowed. The entire community conspires to forget the given names of the boys. This practice constitutes the only way the community cooperates together.
So prepare for another set of strangely named public officials in Ste. Genevieve. Voters there may choose between Democrats and Republicans, but they always get the candidate with the funny name. Next time you go to the Courthouse, please give Hog my best regards.