Names. Hard to remember. Annoying to say. A real pain in the ass.

The longer you walk about this cursed planet, the larger the internal rolodex of names your brain carries has to be. The more you traverse work, relationships, social engagements, internet things, the more names you’re expected to remember.

It’s a piece of shit task only successfully pulled off by rank nerds running some Tony Robbins-esque garbage, all of whom have to develop an absurdly complicated mnemonic device just to keep up.

For the rest of us, we’re doomed to live our lives never more than 30 seconds away from an unexpected encounter with Smiling Doofus From That One Thing Years Ago whose name you will only remember about 15 minutes after you awkwardly part ways.

For this purpose, we have a laundry list of placeholder names that transcend identity. A precious gift of titles to call someone when the name “Desmond” doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Some are fine, respectable titles. Others are like spitting up someone’s nose. Observe this ranking of them based on no discernible reasoning whatsoever.

20) Sir/Ma’am

Rubbish names. Absolute disrespectful garbage. Deplorable, uncomfortable bullshit overused heavily in retail sectors, particularly in America where you can stagger into a Walgreens, stab twelve six packs of Bud Lite Lime with an unopened Cee Lo Green CD, take a shit in the cosmetics aisle on top of a pile of T-Mobile data pack cards, and the manager will still call you “Sir” or “Ma’am” while a 7-foot, 380-pound security guard named Leonard tases you and hurls you in front of a bus. Fucked.

19) Squire

Are you either a) a foppish dandy with wooden teeth seeking passage to Ceylon, or b) currently being arrested for enjoying a succulent Chinese meal? If you answered no to both, this word is simply not for you.

18) Bro/Brah/Bruv

The exclusive domain of people named “Blane,” “Tanner,” or “Big Rob,” these greetings are reserved purely for the kind of person who would much rather shove a can of Four Loko up their ass and follow 311 on tour than entertain the thought of doing literally anything else. The words most commonly-uttered immediately prior to losing a hand in a fireworks accident.

17) Tiger

Mud. A name that was much higher up the list until a world-famous golfer ruined it by doing the most fucking of anyone ever. To this day, the only golfer to have fucked at all.

16) Chief

I’ve only ever seen rich old men in their 70s use chief while ordering endless bottles of cab sav while bitching black and blue that the pub doesn’t have any malbec and demanding the bartender turn the music down. They all suck as much ass as the word “chief” does. I spit on it.

15) Sport

Most commonly used by your weird Uncle Steve who keeps coming over on Tuesday arvos to fix the air vents in Mum’s bedroom, even though there’s no air vents in Mum’s bedroom and you’re pretty sure he’s not actually your Uncle. Still, he gave fifty cents and a copy of Bubsy on the SEGA that works perfectly even though the label is ripped off and it doesn’t have a case. So it’s not all bad.

14) Mister/Missus/Miss

Acceptable only if you happen to be an impoverished British orphan circa 1924 begging for tuppence on the streets in the hopes of staving off scurvy.

13) Pal/Buddy

Pal sounds like a Scotsman shovelling square sausage down gullet till he overflows, and the only thing “Buddy” is good for is alerting you to the fact a Canadian is about to punch your face off. Pass.

12) Legend

You’ll only ever be called “legend” by someone trying to get you to switch your energy providers. Which you will, because the person doing it is actually kinda cute. But is paying $40 more a month for a power supply that means you can’t run the TV if there’s any lights on in the house worth it? Depends if they wind up texting you back, which they haven’t done just yet, so the jury’s still out on that one.

11) Homie/Homeboy/Homegirl

The kind of name you’ll only ever use earnestly once, because the wedgie you rightfully received immediately afterwards was so severe it required dedicated therapy to overcome.

10) Hombre/Comrade

Until the revolution begins in earnest, only utter these ones with hushed breaths. No sense tipping off the imperialist dogs until the time is right, comrades. *taps nose*

9) Digger

Its rarity severely hurts its standings in the list. Seldom heard and generally only used by drive-thru bottle shop attendants aged 55 and over. But on the rare occasion you cop it, tuck that six pack of Woodstock & Coke tinnies under your arm and stride back to your Dad’s 1997 Commodore like you’re ten-feet tall. Because you, digger, are alive.

8) Boss

A real power move, this one. True alpha dog stuff. There is no more efficient, more concise, more truly humiliating way of putting Wesley at the Butcher’s back in his fucking box than by denying his limp, sweaty handshake and dropping a hot “boss” on him as you walk out which lets him know that you are the one who is actually boss in this scenario.

7) Dude

A general, all-purpose, knockabout name – if not annoyingly gendered – that’s teetering perilously on the cusp of complete overuse. Far too engrained in the brains of anyone who remembers 1993 to be excised, leading to horribly awkward moments where you accidentally call your girlfriend “dude” and she gets very mad at you for it.

6) Shagger

A mighty title befitting your most impressive of acquaintances. What better way to say “Hello, dear friend” whilst also admiring “my, how you fuck” at the same time. Its only downfall is that it simply cannot be used on just anyone. A true shagger picks their spots.

5) Slick

Underrated in the grand pantheon of generic names. Useful in a plethora of scenarios. Bloke dropping off a package? “Cheers, Slick.” Someone touching your spaghett? “I’d think twice about that, Slick.” Upstart young businessman trying to freeze you out of a lucrative but shady trade deal? “Cross me again and you’re a fucking dead man, Slick.” It works on any number of levels.

4) My Good Bitch

A fresh entry, but a fast climber of these rankings. Try it on for size. “How’s it hanging, my good bitch?” “Big weekend ahead, my good bitch?” “What’s the go with the au pairs, my good bitch?” Rolls off the tongue like midnight drool. Molto bene.

3) Champ/Champion

Onya Champ. Onya Champion. Good onya Champ. Ahh Champ, bloody good onya. How’s it goin’, Champion? Righto, onya Champ. Good onya. Bloody good on you, Champion. That’s the stuff, Champ. Good onya. Onya, Champ. Champion. Top stuff, Champ. Good shit. Real good shit right there, Champ. Good bloody onya. Fucken top shelf, Champ. You beaut.

2) Mate

As ubiquitously Australian as snapping the top off an ice cold can of snake’s piss. Versatile, respectful, and at all times commanding. Can be used to both start a fight and end one. The absolute duck’s guts. One of our fine country’s most-used words, alongside “g’day,” “howsitgarn,” and “leadership spill.” The Cadillac of generic names.

1) Cobber

The only name worth ranking above “mate.” A humble battler. An undying spirit. The beating heart of not remembering someone’s bullshit name. Calling someone “cobber” on the daily is scientifically proven to increase your chances of being a mad dog. It is kingly. Regal. A more noble title there is not. Plus it sounds like the duck’s guts. Cobber. COBBER. Cobber. What a bloody word.