There are the ubiquitous ones – Stretch, Preacher, Shorty, Lucky, Cowboy, Solo, Fats, Junior, Nephew, Deuce, and Viking.
Sniper’s a little guy, five foot nothing, 100 lbs. wet if he’s lucky, and has Coke bottle thick glasses.
Einstein makes rocks look like intellectuals.
What about the guys apparently trying to instill fear? Or, are they overcompensating for a “shortcoming” with names like Diablo, Satan, Psycho, Killer, Gestapo, Fatal and Slaughter?
Angel is usually Hispanic, with tattoos of Our Lady of Guadalupe covering his entire back, a fully ornate crucifix on either his chest or forearm, and several rosary-draped praying hands scattered here and there. Yet, at the slightest perceived disrespect or provocation, he’ll slice and dice you quicker than any of Ron Popiel’s kitchen gadgets.
Then there’s Tiny. He creates his own eclipse of the sun when he’s out in the yard. Have two of them stand side-by-side and you’ve got an entire NFL defensive line.
And there’s the guys who’ve hijacked animal names. I’m surprised that the animals haven’t risen up in protest. There’s Animal, Tiger, Maverick, Rabbit, Mouse, Wolf, Turtle, Badger, Bull, Bulldog, and Bird. Mustn’t forget Bear – he’s the guy you don’t want to be near in any line because the name fits, he smells like one.
Foods are another category, as weird as that seems. There’s Chili, Nacho, Skittles, Hotdog, Cornbread and Strawberry. I wonder if they’re telling the world to “eat me”?
Strange but true, there’s even a category for colors – Red, Blue, Lil Wyte (White) and Blackie (a white guy).
Our Native American brothers are duly represented as well. It’s not too hard to find a Chief, Apache, Geronimo, Tonto, Little Bear, and Savage.
Cartoon/comedic characters deserve their due as well. Smurf, Casper, Ghost, Dragon, Pee Wee, Shaggy, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Clown, Spanky, Bam Bam, Blinky, Bozo, and Richie Rich.
Just about every state and major U.S. city is represented and are just too numerous to mention.
Now that I’ve dealt with staff, let’s get to the inmates. Just kidding.
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The sobriquets given to staff could land you in the hole if they heard them, and they are probably some of the best. Lt. Smiley/Magoo is a combination of Mr. Magoo and Jim Tom from Discovery Channel’s Moonshiners series. Howdy Doody had red hair, freckles, protruding ears, and gapped upper front teeth. Lt. Maybelline got his name because he is somewhat effeminate and it looks like he’s wearing permanent eyeliner. Baby Huey – you can visualize that. One of the best was Chuckie – a short, dyed-blonde female that looked just like Chuckie. She used to get catcalls when she was in the pods or on the yards.
Let’s finish up with some of the strange and sometimes cruel prison nicknames. Lefty has an atrophied left arm due to an accident, Skippy suffers from Cerebral Palsey and has a difficult time walking, Stumpy/Wheels lost both legs above the knees and gets around in a wheelchair. And Blindman, who sees better than me. Truck, Trip, Dank, Powder, Korn, Patches, Skank, Nugget, Boogie, Hooter, and Doobie can’t be ignored or forgotten either.
And with that I’m finished. I hope you’ve had as much fun reading this as I’ve had writing it. Bet you won’t look at others the same from now on.
Kenneth Kyle is serving 24 years in Colorado.
Kenneth Kyle #109449
Arkansas Valley CF
12750 Highway 96 at Lane 13
Ordway, CO 81035