Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur



Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Chug-A-LugI was at the Utah College of Massage Therapy, waiting for them to call out my name. I rode my bike here and I was a little winded from the ride up the hills and happy for some water and a seat to rest on. It felt good to write and listen to their relaxing music.

I just heard some one say the words, “chug-a-lug” to someone else. It was the brown-haired girl manning the computer. That was the name that the kids in elementary school made fun of me with. It hurt a little to hear it. I looked up and identified the girl who said it. She hadn’t been talking to me. She hadn’t even noticed the glare I threw her. Of course, she had no idea that I had been tortured with that name for years.

Ironically, it could have been a really cool nickname. I can still remember the song that I knew that had those words in it. I lived in fear that the stupid kids at school would hear that song and sing it at me with hateful voices. Now, thinking about it, I could have had a theme song. It could have been my anthem.

I wonder if Mike remembers what they used to call me when they made fun of me. He remembers so little from grade school. I wonder if my tormentors remembered what they named me. I wonder if I inadvertently named someone who now hates me and considers me a tormentor.

Chug-A-Lug are just words and not very good ones at that. It’s not like they are derogatory. The song that I feared those children would learn was about drinking too much alcohol. It had nothing to do with being fat. Can you imagine it? A seemingly harmless set of words can be used to torture. Why can’t I appropriate that name right now? It could mean that I like to drink a lot of water. I could have a theme song; one that was given to me as a child.

Why hadn’t I learned how to turn my enemies’ weapons against them? Why did no one tell me how to do this? Why didn’t my parents say, “Don’t you know how lucky you are? You got a nickname! Some people wish their whole lives that people would care enough about them to give them a nickname!” I should have started introducing myself as Chug-A-Lug. I should have proudly sung that song. I should have turned their evil against them.

Man, it’s like I can see an alternate universe where I took over. I was the popular one because I accepted the gift that they gave me. Sure, it was given in an effort to hurt my feelings, but a gift is a gift. Just a few months ago, I was wishing that someone would have given me a nickname and Chug-A-Lug never came to my mind.

In this alternate universe, people would ask me, “How did you get the name, Chug-A-Lug?” They would assume that I got it in high school or college for drinking too much. Instead, I’d say, “Actually, the kids in grade school gave the name because they thought I was fat. It just stuck. I like the name. There’s a song. Do you know it?” I’d sing the chorus to them, “Chug-A-Lug, Chug-A-Lug, makes you wanna holler hi-de-ho! Burns your tummy doncha know. Chug-A-Lug, Chug-A-Lug!”

I can imagine the whole softball team singing that song to me when I hit the ball and run home. I could have been a sports queen. I could have been the Prom Queen. I could have lived a completely different life. Instead of throwing an angry look at the girl behind the computer, I could have been eagerly looking up in anticipation of an old friend. It’s amazing. I could have changed my life.

What other things am I missing? What other methods of war am I failing to use to turn enemies into friends or at least neutral parties? I guess the lesson from this is to assume that everyone loves me. Assume that they want the best for me. Even when they prove otherwise, turn their nasty acts against them. Make them better for me than they ever thought could happen. Turn it all against them and FORCE them to love me. FORCE them to get what’s best for me.

Just like when I was laid off at my job. My life is supremely better now that they set me free. They were doing what was best for me, even though it felt like a kick in the gut. I should have embraced it and truly believed that what seemed like a bad thing was really good for me. I know I said that to myself many times, but I didn’t truly believe it.

That’s what I need to do: truly believe with absolute conviction that whatever is happening is the best. Whatever people do to me is meant to help me. I need to embrace it. Embrace everything. Bring it to me and hold it close enough to turn the blade outward instead of inward. Disarm and turn the weapon against the attacker. FORCE them to love me or at least leave me alone.


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