Tommy Six Toes is an actual guy I know from my Rez. He went to jr. high with us and would show us his 6th toe for a dollar (and his 12th for another dollar.) Today he's 27 and now shows his extra toes to his nieces and nephews instead of buying them birthday presents.
My cousin's name is Ojibway Prophecy Bartholomew Nicholas Morrison Abernaki. In kindergarten we learn to write our names - poor kid couldn't spell one of those names to save his life. He's 21 and now goes by Bear.
My family calls me Dawnkey - for 2 very lame reasons:
1. My middle name is Dawn.
2. My laugh once sounded like a donkey when I was 10 months old.
I'm 29 now and every card I ever get from my Mooshum is addressed to "Dawnkey."
My point? Nicknames are usually grounded in something legit- whether it be your 6th toe or beak like nose (Beaker Manigotaggon, grade 5.)
Nicknames also help make life easier for all involved - how many Tittas or Sissies do you know? Probably tons, all because a baby brother couldn't say sister.
And sometimes nicknames are made (and kept) just to embarrass the hell out of people who do, like, say or think dumb shit - ever want to put me in my place? There's lots of ways to do that, but calling me Dawnkey isn't one of them unless you want to get knocked on your ass! Just kidding! Which brings me to...