If you went to elementary school, odds are at some point you wound up with a nickname you hated. Maybe it was based on an embarrassing physical feature ("Dick Nose"), or perhaps a humiliating incident ("Shit Pants"), but either way, the worst thing you can imagine is actually becoming your name.
You know several people who had this very thing happen -- they're in every history book. People like...
Real Name: Ernesto Guevara
Nickname Means: "Hey!"
T-shirt model and Marxist guerrilla Ernesto Guevara is probably the best known revolutionary in this part of the world. Born to an upper-middle-class family in Argentina, he went on to dick around all throughout South and Central America. He wrote a best-selling book about his travels and even got into some goofy hijinks with his buddy Fidel Castro.
We smell a blockbuster summer comedy.
You know how cartoony stereotypes of Soviets call everyone "comrade?" Mr. Guevara was actually like that.
Here he is in his hipster phase. Note his hair, which has clearly been washed with soap, despite the fact that he had plenty of shampoo money.
As it turns out, "che" is an Argentine filler word. It doesn't really have a meaning, which makes it a bitch to try to translate. Sometimes it's used to get your attention, sort of like how an American might say "Yo!" or "Hey!" Sometimes, it's used as a term of endearment for a friend, the equivalent of "bro" or "dude." And sometimes Argentines use it for no damned reason at all, so it'd be more like "uh" or "ummm ..."
One guess as to what's in that pipe.
Guevara liked to say the word. A lot. So when he left Argentina and started using the word "che" like the Cookie Monster uses the word "cookie," people noticed. According to Fidel Castro himself, the nickname was born when Guevara met up with some Cuban exiles in Guatemala City around 1953. He does not point out that if Guevara had been born in Canada, people would remember him as "Eh Guevara."