Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Nicknames I have been known and loved by.

Nicknames I have been known and loved by.
A couple of my friends are really getting kicked around the last few days. One's being screwed over by unscrupulous ex-business partners; the other's waiting to hear back from a doctor whether or not he's just in rough shape, or terrifyingly bad shape, healthwise.

Knowing that these guys have troubles that make mine look like molehills with delusions of grandeur, I find myself pre-shamed into not complaining about my sixteen-month long sinus headache, or sore back, or the Catscan I had yesterday.

Actually, I couldn't complain about the Catscan--well, I could, I can complain about anything, it's a gift--but I shouldn't. It was the smoothest medical procedure I've ever had to endure, and I've had to endure a lot of them. In fact, I was actually halfway back home when the time of my appointment rolled around. I got there early and they took me right in. I don't think that's ever happened for me before. Every medical test should be like yesterday's Catscan.

Unwilling for the moment to dwell on the awful void that is my near-perfect life (for the Perfect Life, just Add Money!), I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to write about (in public--I've got TONS of stuff I ought to be writing independently...). So what you get is this:

As some of you know, I've been writing a monthly column for Award-Winning comic retail chain Happy Harbor Comics, "Kid Drew's YOU WANT TO BUY THIS!" When he read the title of the column, my friend Marc "Marcus" Bryant (writer of THE GATESVILLE COMPANY and SHOTGUN WEDDING, two generally excellent comics cut down in their prime by the demise of Speakeasy Comics) was...less than enthusiastic about the title. The reason he wasn't enthusiastic had nothing to do with the contents of the column (which is my picks for the best bets from each month's PREVIEW catalogue--I started doing this in lieu of my Skewed Perspectives reviews because I was getting sick of writing about what I didn't like that I was reading. It's much easier to be enthusiastic and upbeat about something that sounds interesting and/or good in advance of its release, even easier when a few people actually take a chance and order something I recommended...nothing like an audience to get a writer's juices flowing...).

No, Marc's problem was with the title. He thought I'd dubbed myself "Kid Drew". And to him, that was hinky.

The people who actually read YWTBT! probably also read the HARBOR LIFE webcomic, and know that Kid Drew is a character in the strip based loosely on yours truly. Unlike Kid Drew, I don't habitually wear a Luchadore mask, nor do I try and frighten people into buying comics I like. I do, however, shove comics I like in the faces of people I think should buy them. If they find that frightening, well, that's not my fault.

Over at his blog, artist vunderkind Nick Johnson has declared me "The Pastor of Disaster." Which, given my deeply-held conviction that everything sucks, is certainly apropos. Or at least Tiina thinks so.

Kid Drew and The Pastor of Disaster are just two of many nicknames I have had over the years--a few of which haven't fallen through the holes in my swiss cheese memory. Some of them I liked, some of them I didn't mind, a couple of them I tried to convince everyone to call me because I thought that would be cool. None of them stuck for any length of time, which I believe was the point of a nickname I had in high school--one I was so proud of I even painted it on a ballcap, just so everyone would know I self-identified as "The Undefined."

Inside my high-school social group (read as: roleplaying geeks who hung out with each other), there were two subgroups: the Man-Men and the others. The Others each got unique nicknames, none of them particularly complimentary. The Man-Men were the ones who could pass as cool; they were known by the nickname "The (Insert Name Here) -Man". There was The Matt-Man, the Don-Man, a couple others. Sometimes I was granted the Andy-Man status, but mostly it was agreed that I just...wasn't a Man-Man. But neither then was I really one of the Others. I got along with all of them fine, for the most part; in some ways I was the one thing they all had in common. But I didn't really fit in either group...I was The Undefined.

Mind you, now that I think about it, most of the Man-Men eventually got into body-building and weightlifting (I recently reconnected with The Matt-Man and found out that he's been taking part in Strong-Man competitions...). So maybe The Undefined wasn't the compliment I liked to think it was...

I had several nicknames among the painters I worked with as a summer job while I attended art college. My favourite (though I have a hard time fathoming why at this point in time) was "The Human Eclipse", which generally got shortened down to "Eclipse".

Partly because I've had greying hair since my mid-teens, and partly because I dressed up to go out for the crew's annual Calgary Stampede Drink-Up (in which the boss did the impossible and made Stampede tolerable by paying for his crews' consumption of a terrifying quantity of alcohol), the boss' brother dubbed me "The Silver Fox". I imagine I was called other, far less complimentary names behind my back. I vaguely recall repeatedly calling someone an awful name (I don't remember what it actually was anymore, but it wasn't nice) for a couple days, simply because I'd never heard anyone on the crew refer to him by his actual name and had written off the nickname as an unfortunate choice made in a moment of weakness by cruel parents...ahh, the joys of the blue-collar life...

One of my closest friends in Art College made a valiant run at getting me known as "Boxcar." If that had stuck, I believe I would've taken up blues guitar.

As much as I like the idea of being known as The Pastor of Distaster, I still think the longest-running nickname I had for several years as a child is probably the most accurate.

Dad had my number from a very early age, when he started calling me "Bummer." I was fifteen before I realized "bummer" had a negative connotation.


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