I don’t think anyone has escaped into adulthood without experiencing the searing pain of name-calling. The “sticks and stones” theory that words can’t hurt you is a fallacy. Words do hurt, sometimes they can be more pointed than the sharpest saber. The closer to the truth, the more pain they can inflict. Embrace the name, however, and embrace the power.
I have probably been called many names over the years. I remember a few. I am not sure my sister knew my name my first years of life, as I was simply “The Pest.” “That Weird Girl” followed me as I tried to navigate the treacheries of middle school using humor and random acts of singing to ingratiate or at least amuse my 12 year old colleagues. In high school I was a “Choir Nerd,” while “Frizz” in college referred to an unfortunate dalliance with an 80’s style perm. (Remember Flashdance? Yeah, that was my look.)
Some of these names make me cringe still, others amuse me. But there is one name, which I earned in adulthood, that I am most proud. The Funcrusher. This nickname was given to me by my darling youngest son when he was about 10 years old, and still follows me today, although my “boys” are now 20, 23 (and 54).
When boys get together, no matter what their age and no matter if one is the parent, bad decisions are often made. I don’t remember ever seeing a group of moms designing and shooting off potato guns, making homemade explosives or finding new and inventive ways to play with fire. Few women I know think shooting bottle rockets at people is harmless fun, or spinning cars on a snow-filled parking lot is a necessary part of driver’s training.
Moms were invented to be the rational part of the family. We are the life jacket/helmet/seatbelt/athletic cup patrol. Seriously, a 15 year old boy thinks it’s a good idea to play a sport whose whole purpose seems to be to hit people with sticks, yet tries to sneak out to the game without protecting my future grandchildren? Call in The Funcrusher.
Heck, I even banned all toy weaponry in my home, no plastic swords, guns or knives. This did, of course, lead to their use of sticks as weapons, which leads to lacrosse, see paragraph above. Also, my oldest boy (that would be my husband) blatantly defied The Funcrusher edict and bought cap guns, yes loud, gun powdery filled GUNS for our boys while I was out of town.
I loved the myriad times over the years when three pairs of eyes looked up at me with the “Oh, crap, here comes The Funcrusher” looks on their faces. No, floating down an ice cold mountain steam filled with jutting boulders, head first no less, is NOT a good idea. Jumping off a dock roof? Not going to happen while The Funcrusher is supervising. Giant slingshots with hard boiled eggs as ammunition? Don’t even ask…
Yes, The Funcrusher is still alive and well, now on fraternity patrol. Texts are sent back and forth including such sage advice such as “school comes first, go to class” and “When your father visits, remember he is an amateur and be gentle with the Rumplemintz.” I sign all missives with “TFC.” I am alive, well and vigilant.