Physically altering your appearence: Like, for instance, I’d quite like my nickname to be “Red.” I think one quick way to accomplish this would be to dye my hair red. Except I’m too afraid to do that, so I’m going to have to wear some sort of Lucy Ricardo wig all the time. It’s going to look like Orphan Annie, but fine. Fine. I’m dedicated to this.
Become Katharine Hepburn’s character in The Philadelphia Story: She goes by “Red.” I mean, ultimately, this is a bigger goal. I think pantsuits? I could wear a lot of pantuits. However, I think at best – at best – people would start calling me Tracy Lord, also, Tracy Lord almost certainly doesn’t care about nicknames. This is getting a bit too meta. Yeah, we have to scrap this. SCRAP THIS. THIS SHOULD NOT BE PART OF YOUR PLAN.
Adopt bizarre political preferences: I figure another way to make that “Red” thing work for me would be to become a Communist. You can pull this off in other ways, too! For instance, if you want to be called “Asshole,” you should become an objectivist.
Get a time machine: Look, unfortunately – or fortunately, if you believe in hope – this is the answer to absolutely everything. If you went back to Ancient Rome, however, they would almost certainly give you a nickname for having, say, any defining trait whatsoever. Brutus. Brutus means dull-witted. Caesar was essentially saying “And you, dumbo?”, which is not a great way to stop people from stabbing you, when you think about it.
Moving to a small town, maybe?: Chuck Klosterman’s Downtown Owl has lead me to believe that if you lived in a small town, everyone would call you “Elkface” or something, based on an obscure incident in your youth. The idea of being tied so closely to your past is really interesting, but, at the same time, horribly unappealing. Also, you really have to grow up in a small town for that to work effectively, Elkface.
Ask people: This never works. People will humor you for three days, tops. It has to be their idea.
Wear the face of an elk: I’m just trying to spitball, here.
Wear the face of an elk with a red wig: I think this is going to push me into Red territory.
Anyhow, I think what we’re come to, here, is “There is no good way to get a nickname.” Not really. But let’s pretend there was. What nickname would you want?
Ellen “Red” Olenska.