2/3 In Series I Won’t Write about

March 1, 2008

 

After the session finished, I took Mary out to Starbucks and bought her a cup of coffee because I like her a lot.

I complained about my job. She said she was not happy with hers, now, either. She is working on getting her citizenship and working on getting a new job. Her employer had been purchased by another company. She said everyone at her bought-out company felt very insecure.

She said, “Everywhere I apply for a new job, they say either, ’You don’t have enough experience’ or they say, ‘You are overqualified.’”

We expressed sympathy to each other. She laughed at some of my jokes. (Another reason I like her a lot.)

We talked about a variety of subjects. I told her about how my daughter was going back to graduate school and how she studied calculus at home for two years after they first rejected her application. As a person who had studied very hard to get into the field of her choice in spite of discouragement, Mary was properly sympathetic and impressed.

I don’t remember how it came up, but I asked her, “Did you have a nickname as a child?”

She nodded, but looked very embarrassed. “I did, but I don’t want to say it.”

I said, “Let me tell you about my daughter’s nickname as a child. Maybe you won’t feel so embarrassed to tell me, but it’s up to you.

“When my daughter was little, I teased her too much. She was a very good little girl as little children go, so I teased her about being so good. Once I told her, teasing, ‘If you keep being so bad, I will turn you into a toad like the witch in the story I just read to you who turned the prince into a toad who could only be freed if a princess if a princess kissed him.”

[Given the subsequent history of my daughter’s romantic life, this proved to be much more ironic than either of us foresaw when she was four years old.]

“Somehow, ‘Toad’ became my daughter’s nickname. As she grew up, I asked her once in a while, ‘Do you want us to stop calling you ‘Toad?’

“My daughter always said, ‘No, it is fine for you to call me that.’ Now that she is 41 years old, my wife and I still call her ‘Toad.’”

Mary now felt safe enough to tell me her nickname. “My nickname is ‘Little Corn.’

“When I was little, we would go to the market. They would always have many ears of corn, very cheap. [I am sure she was referring to what Americans call ‘sweet corn’ and in Peru they would call ‘maize.’]

“I loved corn and I always pestered my mother to buy many ears of corn. All my siblings (I was the youngest) called me ‘Little corn.’ [She is very short.]

“They would say, ‘Little corn, come here.’

“And they would say, ’Little corn wants to read that book.’ And so on.”

I thought the nickname was very sweet, actually. However, it’s OK with me if she wants to be embarrassed about it. Maybe it’s a Peruvian thing.

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2 Responses to “2/3 In Series I Won’t Write about”


  1. You’re right; your daughter’s nickname is much worse.

  2. Pete Says:

    My parents called me droopy drawers, because my diaper wouldn’t stay up. It still doesn’t, I mean they still do!


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