I have had a variety of nicknames throughout my life. Obviously with a last name like “Wham,” every group I ever met, every class I ever taught, every chat room where I was stupid enough to use my real name, some joker would say “Wham? Wham! Bam! Thank you ma’am!” like I’d never heard that before. Then I had my other nicknames. Stay-Puft was a popular one after Ghostbusters came out at the movies. Before that, I was The Great White Marshmallow. Unfortunately, both of these monikers draw attention to my status as The Man The Sun Forgot as well as my rather large girth. It didn’t help that Mama had a propensity for dressing me in horizontal stripes in grade school so Michelin Man was another of my nome de plumes.
My most ironic nickname, however, is one that I’m not the least bit proud of — Last Stop Before the Razor. Here’s the story in brief. I am not an optimist. I really, really want to be an optimist, but it’s just not in my DNA. I am the scion of a lengthy lineage of pessimists. Not just pessimists, FATALISTIC pessimists. We never met a bad situation that we couldn’t make worse by pointing out the utter hopelessness of success, rescue, resolution, etc. Definitely not the lives of the parties.
Now, I got my unfortunate nickname from a colleague I was talking to about her love life. She was having man trouble and we’d spent a good deal of time and lunches hashing out this problem or that problem when I made the statement that branded me The Last Stop Before the Razor. I said, after listening to another twenty minute tale of woe, “Well, considering your luck with men in the past, maybe you just aren’t meant to have a husband or a long term boyfriend.” My buddy sat there stunned. Clueless as usual to my conversational gaffes, I just looked at her and said, “What?” That’s when she said, “If I ever want to kill myself, I’m coming to you first and laying out all my misery and sorrow so you can say ‘maybe it’s just meant to be’ and then I can go slit my wrists. You are the last stop before the razor.”
As the Lord Above is my witness, I really wasn’t trying to be mean. I was trying to help. I just looked at the situation in a full and honest light and gave what I thought was an accurate assessment of the situation. Later, I was relating the conversation to Budge and when I told her what I’d said she blurted out, “You said WHAT? Why didn’t you just tell the girl she was fat, old, and ugly and be done with it?” (for the record, the girl in question is not fat, old, or ugly. Budge has a tendency to hyperbole.” She reiterated what my buddy had already said, “Honey, remind me never to come to you for comfort when I’m depressed.”
I’ve tried to get better and more tactful, but I still have a bad habit of blurting out the unvarnished truth that, while truthful, isn’t always well received. So, Budge spends a lot of time prefacing her statements with “what he means is . . . ” while I remain The Last Stop Before the Razor.
Love y’all. Keep those feet clean.