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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The name's David...

... but you can call me 'trep'.

I've had a few nicknames over the years... and enjoyed almost all of them. 

Don't get me wrong, I love my given name.  But when I was in grade school you couldn't shoot a spitball without hitting someone named David!  Apparently David was the default name on the boomer generation male birth certificate.

Teachers and friends attempted to sort things out by experimenting with variations on a theme.  A typical question that I'd get asked on the first day of school was, "Do you want to be called David, Dave, Davey (The Lutheran cartoon series 'Davey and Goliath'  was really big back then), or maybe something else?" 

Other than a short period in 4th grade where I wanted to be called by my middle name (Lindsay) I usually asked people to call me 'David' (although, interestingly... all of my siblings call me 'Dave').

When I was in the navy I was known by several derivations of 'David', as well as 'Bogie'/'Bogey' (from my last name; Bogner).  Given that 'Jewboy' or something even worse was altogether possible, I guess I should count myself lucky.

While studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, I worked evenings at the now-defunct Richie's Pizza on King George street (remember the big message board?!).  One of the long-time workers had already laid claim to 'Dave', and another recent hire was named 'David'.  So for almost two years I I grudgingly answering to the name 'Dudu'. 

Yeah, I know... pretty lame.

Since moving to Israel I haven't really had too much trouble with my name beyond the occasional struggle to keep Israelis from calling me 'Daaayveeed' (I usually put the kibosh on that by politely asking the offender just how many 'yuds' he/she thinks are actually contained in my name).

The blogosphere seems to be another story altogether, though.  As I look around at the people I read on a regular basis, I get the sense that very few of us named our blogs with an eye towards what other people would call us in on-line discussions.

I have never made a secret of my real name here on treppenwitz, so I figured most people would simply call me David (if they talked about me at all).  However, when we had that first (and so far, only) blogger bash in Ra'anana last year, all I got were blank stares when I introduced myself to my fellow Anglo-Israeli bloggers as 'David'. 

I quickly realized that most people were walking around introducing themselves by the names of their blogs (boy, would 'Psychotoddler' or 'Orthodox Jewish Straight Theater Queen' have gotten some funny looks if they had attended!). 

I have to admit that it felt really strange to walk up to someone and say, "Hi, I'm treppenwitz... who are you?"  But at least I was sometimes able to spot a glimmer of recognition with this approach. 

However, it has been sort of interesting to lurk around the blogosphere these days and see what other people call me. 

So far, I have been noticing a decided trend towards 'Trep'.

OK... not terrible... but if someone was going to truncate the name of my blog, couldn't they have picked the part of treppenwitz* that means 'wit/wisdom' rather than the part that means 'stair'?   I'm just saying...

I suppose I really have no room to complain.  After all, nicknames are rarely of one's own choosing.... and having a nickname does indicate that people feel a certain familiarity when speaking about you, right? 

I'll tell you what... I can't wait 'til the next blogger bash.  I am so gonna be walking up to people and saying, "Hi, nice to meetcha... I'm Trep!"  :-)

* Teppenwitz literally means 'the wit of the stairs'.  The striking reply that crosses one's mind belatedly when already leaving, on the stairs. People are often angry because they did not have the fitting answer directly during a conversation. The term is old, but it was made popular by W. Lewis Hertslet who published his book in 1882 entitled 'Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte'. In that book, he writes: "Like to a petitioner who is just leaving after an audience, a piquant, striking words occurs to history almost always delayed."

Source: Munich University: Sabine Engelke - Idioms - Neues vom Treppenwitz (in German) 221_16_5_21

Posted by David Bogner on July 6, 2005 | Permalink


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I can't believe I'm the first to post.
I think the case may be different for other bloggers. For example, I myself would NOT introduce myself as "My Thoughts." (Talk about blank stares.)

Posted by: tmeishar | Jul 6, 2005 4:48:44 PM

that's funny I thought treppenwitz was your alst name?

Posted by: Ed | Jul 6, 2005 4:59:01 PM

How 'bout T-witz?

Short and to the point.

Also, it's better than "Cockteppelwitz."

Posted by: Elisson | Jul 6, 2005 5:03:40 PM

I'm not sure I understand... by you David was a common name? ;)

Now here is a commenter's dilemma. You brought up a subject that would probably make a great post for me - my first name. But now that you've already brought it up, I'm not sure I have enough material left for my own original post. (And we all know how much you care about intellectual property!)

So I'll just add that I can very much identify with your frustration about the way Israelis say "David." I always introduce myself as "Dahveed", not "Dayveed". But an amazing percentage of Israelis seem to think they know better (because of my accent) and call me the latter. It's very frustrating - occasionally I simply don't answer.

I actually think "Dudu" is kind of cool (despite the scatalogical association), but I could never get away with it myself.

So for Americans - and those Israelis who know me well enough to know I prefer it - I go by Dave. And for the rest, I just grit my teeth...

Posted by: Dave | Jul 6, 2005 5:09:03 PM

I have a (bad?) habit of replacing bloggers' last names with their blog names, especially if they have one-word blog names. Heather Dooce, Stacy Sekimori, and yes, you are David Treppenwitz. But in my defense, I have introduced myself as Tanya Redsugar in the past...

Posted by: Tanya | Jul 6, 2005 5:18:50 PM

Actually I have noticed here in Israel most people, especially kids, are called by their last name or by a variation of their name (Yehoshua = Shuki, David = DuDu, etc.) What do you call your son and daughter?

Posted by: yonah lloyd | Jul 6, 2005 5:59:30 PM

I miss Richie's pizza. I certainly remember that message board, it was how I kept in touch with many of my friends. Haven't been there since 1985 and I haven't the foggiest idea when it closed up shop.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 6, 2005 6:50:33 PM

lol... well i totally understand, and now ive even started answering to wildroze... sadly Lisa is also a common name, though not near as common as David.

though i must say ive never refered to you as Trep, but treppenwitz yes... just an easy for of distinction. maybe it should be like James bond...

"hi my name is Treppenwitz, Dave Treppenwitz"

Posted by: Lisa | Jul 6, 2005 6:53:42 PM

I've noticed that I call you both names 'Dave' or 'David', but when I refer to you to others, it's always 'David'. I don't know why.

I loved the comment from the person who thought your last name was "Treppenwitz" - it sure sounds Jewish!! ;)

I won't ever call you "Trep" - count on that!

Posted by: val | Jul 6, 2005 6:56:38 PM

Be happy with Trep, I say -unless you prefer that people thought of you as "[running] gag". After all, "wisdom/wit" for "Witz" is a rather archaic translation. The contemporary meaning would be as much as joke and gag. You see, a lot has changed since 1882...

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jul 6, 2005 7:00:12 PM

On a second thought - I have dropped that story in months before on another discussion, but let me repeat that by the time people start to declare they're calling you Jim-Bob from now on, you just know they're really having problems with 'David' or any other name offered.

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jul 6, 2005 7:09:21 PM

When I met up with Marc (or is it a k) PsychoToddler, I passed on your well wishes (although we haven't met yet) and said David/Treppenwitz says hi.

I knew that Treppenwitz wasn't your name but it now is your persona.

Posted by: Safranit | Jul 6, 2005 7:53:15 PM

Thanks David, Your blog always reveals your basic humanity. Thanks for today's chuckle. David

Posted by: David Bailey | Jul 6, 2005 9:28:32 PM

My name would be too long. Maybe I should shorten it? How about J Blogmiester?hmmmm,
I wonder.

Posted by: Jewish Blogmiester | Jul 6, 2005 9:41:25 PM

The technical blog name is "efrex," which is something that I HAVE been called (it was also one of my old chat nicknames back in the day). Of course, my blog's subtitle has the very convenient acronym OJSTQ, which I'm currently lobbying to have made into a legal Scrabble word.

Posted by: efrex | Jul 6, 2005 9:48:52 PM

Tmeishar... In that kind of a setting you might not have a choice. Better to get a semi-blank stare from your blog name than a completely blank stare for your real name (as happened to me). :-)

Ed... I should probably change it since everyone mispronounces Bogner! :-)

Elisson... I can always count on you to provide much needed perspective. Thanks. :-)

Dave... I assume you're joking, but in case you aren't... It is always OK to say "I just read 'so and so' who wrote about 'such and such', and now here's what I have to say on the subject". Not only does it allow you to mention me (which immediately adds value to any post), but it also covers your tush regarding intellectual property. :-)

Tanya... I do that also. The problem is that I know many of the bloggers I read in real life, so I have no excuse for confusing the names!

Yonah... It depends on what they've done. ;-) Seriously, We call the 'Ari', 'Gili' and 'Yonah'... unless, of course, they are in trouble, in which case we use the full first and middle names!

Jack... I have no idea either. It was sometime after I left Israel in 85.

Lisa... I just know that when you get to Israel I am going to end up calling you wildroze! :-) I like the Bond suggestion. If you read this post you will see that Israelis in general use first and last names interchangeably!

Val... I always assumed you called me Dave to get under my skin! ;-)

mademoiselle a. ... Serves me right for using an out-of-date source! Although the modern sense is also somewhat fitting. :-)

Safranit... I saw the picture he posted of you on his blog. Thanks for sending regards. I hope you had a great visit.

David Bailey... No need to thank me... I'm a giver. :-)

Jewish Blogmiester... Nah, that sounds too much like a rapper's name.

Efrex... When I got back from my last trip to NY I was telling my wife about having drinks in Time Square with 'The Efrex's. So there you are! :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 6, 2005 9:57:09 PM

Who IS David Bogner anyway?

Posted by: shabtai | Jul 6, 2005 10:35:35 PM

timna is so not my name, but I've never met a blogger in person, so I imagine that I'd be timna to everyone.

btw, david, I'm in Beer Sheva on an almost daily basis. lunch?

Posted by: timna | Jul 6, 2005 10:46:45 PM

David is a little like Michael, in that there are some Michaels out there who get mighty offended if you call them Mike. I wasn't sure if I should call you David or Dave, since I think when I knew you I referred to you as Bogie or Bogner or that Trombone guy.

If I call you Trep now, it's either an attempt to maintain what little anonymity you have (over on Psychotoddler they don't know your name, I think) or more likely it's an attempt to be consistent, so I don't confuse the readers (like "you know mark I mean PT I mean Psycho toddler").

Speaking of Psychotoddler, I'm in deep doo doo over there now. Most people refer to me as Psychotoddler or PT (since it's my blogger name as well as the name of the site), but actually it's really a reference to my youngest daughter. So now if I talk about her and myself in the same post, I have to put a "the" before PT to differentiate. (Like I'm "PT", but she's "The PT"). I don't want to put her real name up too often, but sometimes it's the only way to clarify something.

And now my older daughter, Perel, has joined the team, but she sometimes refers to herself as Fudge and other times as Pearl or Perel. Or that one time she signed in as "The Goosegog."

And my wife can't seem to settle on Mrs. Balabusta or Altered Mental Status (I told her that last one is too confusing--ha ha).

Speaking of nicknames, almost all of my kids go by them. So I'm not giving anything away by mentioning Kovi, Rafi, Shua, Iguana, or The Bublet.

Posted by: psychotoddler | Jul 6, 2005 11:09:02 PM


Were you still working at Ritchies during the summer of '85? If so I can guarantee that we have already met as I was in there very frequently, at least when we were not at Pizza Rimini or Lalos or Champs or.......

Posted by: Jack | Jul 6, 2005 11:16:22 PM

If I'd known people were going to read me I wouldn't have chosen this username for sure. Sounds a bit silly when you don't know the reasons behind it. And actually also after you do. And then to make matters worse I also go by a name that is a male name bcs it's the literal translation of one of my first names (have two). Good thing my identity is pretty much stable a this point.

Posted by: Lioness | Jul 6, 2005 11:21:35 PM

David/Jack...thanks for memory lane. I too was hanging around Jerusalem in 85 but probably more often at Champs or Lalos, then Ritchies (actually more like Beit Tea, the Pie House and Penny Lane.)

Posted by: ginger | Jul 7, 2005 5:58:24 AM

Whether we think about it or not, we wear our names. It undeniably becomes part of our personality. Like fashion, perhaps our names change, or our perception of the names change. I was born a David. I didn't think much of it until Hurricane David and it became something 'dangerous,' which I liked at the time. Later, in high school, I equated David with being too formal;like Michael or Steven. Davey, like Mikey or Stevey was too juvenile for me. I wanted to be independent and assert my personality, so I insisted on being called Dave. "Hey Mike, it's Dave." It was a way to be cool. I introduced myself as Dave, wrote Dave on my school work, signed my letters 'Sincerly Dave,' and wanted my first driver's licence to read 'Dave.' Then in college, I somehow reverted back to David. But then I noticed how ubiquitous David was. On my dormitory floor there were approximately 36 guys, of which six were named David! Half of them, including my roommate at one time had a last name with the same last initial as me. "Hello, you want to speak to David? Which one? David S? Which one? The one in room 2122? Which one?" Click.
Now, I am firmly a David, but I recently had a mini identity crisis: A co-worker asked me what I prefer: Dave or David. I answered her a somewhat befuddled, "I dunno, I answer to both," which left her somewhat dissatisfied. I told her that I sign my signature as David, but beyond that, I probably just cue in to the first syllable Da- and if you are talking to me, I respond. Call me either, or both, it makes no never mind to me. It is funny how someone can be so anal about it. "You must be one or the other!" I then told her that when I am playing soccer with a group of Spanish speaking folks, I usually introduce myself as Da-veed. I have been called David, Dave, Davey (as in Crocket), Duvee, among others. My wife wanted to call me Dudu, which I nixed immediately. I think it is funny that after 10+ years of knowing my wife, I just realized she calls me Dave, but I have never introduced myself to her or anyone as Dave. -Which is fine, as long as I remain her Beloved.

Posted by: David, or is it Dave? | Jul 7, 2005 7:06:05 AM

Interesting post. My brother's name is David and there were about 12 - 15 Davids in my high school (total student body 126), so I agree about the name being common. But I've always thought of you as David.

When's the next bloggers' bash??

Posted by: AmyS | Jul 7, 2005 7:06:17 AM


I watched LiveAid at Champs and spent far too much time at Lalos. I loved that place, what a fun time for a teenager. I thought that I was so old.

Loved the Pie House too and when I was in Tel Aviv we made it over to the Coliseum a couple of times too.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 7, 2005 7:34:51 AM

Absolutely...and hey ditto to the Coliseum :)

Posted by: ginger | Jul 7, 2005 9:15:19 AM

Finally...treppenwitz explained...initially I had a problem typing the word (that's before I put you under favorites). I wouldn't recommend dudu, in Swahili that means insect, I'd prefer Daudi which is Swahili for David but sounds more like Saudi...def. not a good nickname.

Ever since I got 'hooked up' to Jewish life and culture, I've wanted a Jewish name, my real first name is very common in Ireland and sounds very funny when pronounced in Irish...Padreig. A Rabbi recommended Eliezer and I like it. Kakarizz is another story all together.

Posted by: kakarizz | Jul 7, 2005 9:18:26 AM


This may sound silly, but every now and then I dream about Lalos and that place next to it, what was it called, Pini's Pub.

As goofy as it sounds that summer made such an impact upon me. And now it appears that our host is in some small way responsible. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Jul 7, 2005 9:30:42 AM

Shabtai... A question for the ages. :-)

Timna... Lunch would be great! Just email me when you have a free lunch hour and I'll meet you. (treppenwitz at gmail dot com).

Psychotoddler... Like I said, few of us gave much thought to potential usage problems when we named our blogs and journals.

Jack... Yes, I worked there up until I left in mid/late August of '85. It's funny, I was at a bat mitzvah the other night in Hashmona'im and ran into a woman who used to come in to Richie's with a bunch of her friends nearly every evening. She was in high school back then (I used to give them free pizza and chase the over-sexed soldiers away from them)... but is now married with kids! Time flies...

Lioness... After seeing the morning bed-head pictures you posted I think you chose the perfect name! :-)

Ginger... I wasn't much into the pub/bar scene. Not only couldn't I afford it, but I hated (still do) the stench of cigarette smoke on my clothing. As far as the desert places though... L'yad HaKikar (Off the Square) was my favorite place for crepes!

David (or is it Dave)... You've summed it up nicely. I think as we get older we become less fussy about our names... yet more defined by them.

AmyS... You'll have to ask Allison (unsealed room) about that. Many people have suggested get-togethers over the years, but she seems to be the only one with any success in getting us off our collective asses. :-)

kakarizz... Why would you want to abandon your own name and adopt a Jewish one? Changing a name is equal parts running towards something... and running away.

Jack & Ginger... You have no idea how many people I've run into over the years who recognnized me from my days tossing pizzas at Richie's Pizza! back then it seemed like all roads led to Richie's.

Posted by: David | Jul 7, 2005 11:06:18 AM

David...like I said 'I Like the name'. He(Rabbi) calls me Eliezer and I'm comfortable with it, otherwise I wouldn't change my name for citizenship and a good life, now would I?....I get that alot. :-)

Posted by: kakarizz | Jul 7, 2005 11:54:23 AM

Jack & Ginger... You have no idea how many people I've run into over the years who recognnized me from my days tossing pizzas at Richie's Pizza! back then it seemed like all roads led to Richie's.

Ok, time for me to try and find the old photo album. If memory serves I just might have an interesting picture or two from Richies.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 7, 2005 4:25:48 PM

Oh, and I also get upset when people call me Mike. Because it's Mark.

Posted by: psychotoddler | Jul 7, 2005 7:34:39 PM

Psychotoddler... Mellow out mike. ;-)

Posted by: David | Jul 7, 2005 11:12:34 PM

In the hospital over the weekend one of the doctors sat next to me and said "Hey, howya doin' Mike!" and I just smiled and said fine. And after a while he saw that it said "Mark" on my lab coat and tried to fix it, but since I had no idea what his name was (Dilraj?) I didn't make too much out of it.

Posted by: psychotoddler | Jul 8, 2005 12:45:30 AM

Psychotoddler... You should get a name tag that says 'Mike' and wear them on alternating days. See how long it takes him to start self-medicating. :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 8, 2005 12:49:45 AM

I used to have "Mark" crocheted into my yarmulke. Our 6th grade science teacher commented to us once about how dorky it was. He said when he was our age, his mother told him never to wear a shirt with his name stitched over the breast because then strangers would know his name. And here were all these yeshiva kids with their names on their heads.

I stopped wearing it when the mental patients on the psych ward kept calling out "Mark! Hey Mark! Oh, Marky!! Hey Mike!"

Posted by: psychotoddler | Jul 8, 2005 7:10:52 AM

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