Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What's In a Name . . .

An interesting thing happened to me tonight while I was on my way to rescue a family of kittens from a burning tree . . . I started thinking about nicknames. The "affectionate" little psuedonyms that people put on us (and that we put on people) when calling people by their full names just don't set the right tone.

I'm not talking about people named Charles that go by Chuck or people named Penelope that go by Nickel. I'm talking about people who are known more as Mutt than they are Stephen (or what have you).

In my life, I've had several nicknames - a few of which I could share in this forum. My high school friends, for instance, called me "Pudge" and "Chester." My college friends called me AmSnoop, AmTrak, AmWay and AmErica . . . as well as Crumb and Bigs (based on my deep love for Christoper "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace. My graduate school/DC and, now, Connecticut friends have largely just called me Sean or the ever-popular professional tagging that is the last name only salute . . . Amore. Now, that doesn't count all the people that sing "That's Amore" when I walk in the room or "Sean Love" as I'm frequently monikered.

Of all the nicknames I have had, the one that has stuck was "Tons of Fun." Yep. You read that right. TONS of fun. I was three when my parents started calling me tons of fun. It was a compliment, I can assure you (my parents, both heavy themselves have never intended any slight on to me). The theory was that I was a heavy kid but I still had a good, cheery, rosy disposition.

I'm 31 years old. I've been up and down the scale - well into the mid-500 pounds range. My parents, my father especially, have always kept Tons of Fun as a term of endearment. And I'm okay with them calling me Tons of Fun.

Them. ONLY them. And that is because I feel like they have nurtured me and watched me grow and loved and supported me through all of my life. They still, in many ways, see me as their little boy. Their little funster.

Would I prefer a new nickname from my parents? Maybe. Would I prefer that maybe that nickname goes the way of the 160+ pounds I've lost? Perhaps. Am I sensitive to it? Nah. Not really. They are my parents. I can take it in stride from them.

Bottom line - as long as I know people have their hearts in the right place and as long as I feel like people are looking out for me and are using a nickname, any nickname, with love and affection - they can call me just about anything they want . . . even Pudge. Hell, I call my wife Pop Tart. What do I know?

I am what I am and I'm not afraid of that or ashamed of that or looking to shy away from that. But, let me repeat, no one but my parents can call me Tons of Fun. If they do, I'll give them one of my custom FOUR LETTER nicknames.

1 comment:

This Show said...

AmSnoop . . . by far the best on the list. AmTrack as a close second.

My favorite moment interning at Conan O'Brien was when they had us do "kid's pictures" and one of my pictures made it to the rehearsal. I signed the the picture "Sean Amsnoop" as a way of giving you a shout out from NYC all the way to DC.

It made it past the writers and made it to rehearsal. Conan reads the picture and says "This picture is by Sean Amsnoop."

Conan says "This isn't a real name." Someone in the background said it was one of the interns.

Conan looks into the camera and says: "If we have an intern who is really named Sean Amsnoop, you're fired."