Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Wind Back Wednesdays: Endearing nicknames that didn't stay that way for long...

Wind Back Wednesdays, where I choose a memory from my childhood and talk about it.

Throughout the course of my secondary school life, I was always prone to giving my friends nicknames. Terms of endearment to let them know that I thought they were awesome etc. These included the naming of my particular group of friends (of which there were 7 of us) with the title of one of Snow White's seven dwarves. Before you think this was by way of offending them, I assure you, it wasn't. I had aptly named myself Dopey, due to my uncanny ability to lack any kind of common sense, causing a reputation to be created even in a school situated in the heart of Essex. For those who don't know; Essex does have a reputation of not really being one with the concept of common sense. So for me to have grown up in this particular county and still gain a reputation of this kind, really shows just how much was lost on me throughout my teenage years. 

My friends all welcomed the dwarf nicknames wholeheartedly, as far as I knew. And there was a period of several months at least, whereby we referred to each other by these names. Yes people, we were uber cool. It's also worth mentioning that this nicknaming was by far one of the tamer quirks we developed throughout our period of friendship. To say that I surrounded myself with a group of enablers when it came to my overactive imagination, is a massive understatement. We were constantly coming up with fantasy worlds and sent each other a series of messages, pretending to be fictional people. We also were all actively involved in the world of drama, dance and music. Yeah, I was part of that group of people. Glee had nothing on us. 

Although the majority of my fantasy play tended to be kept within the confines of our particular group, I did venture out of this occasionally and let other people in my year see the weirdness that I encompassed. For the most part, it was well received. People had three reactions to this weirdness, these were: 

A. After being exposed to said weirdness, they avoided me at all costs.
B. They didn't understand the weirdness at all, but found it amusing and so allowed me to be weird at them. 
C. They actually joined in. 

My friend Katie was one of the people who, when with me, would tend to join in with the quirkiness. As such, she was rewarded with her own nickname from me. Due to her being a lot cooler than I was, and the fact that she usually hung out with the more elite of groups, I had tried to make myself seem more ghetto by giving her the nickname of Dawg. Yes, it was the 90s, that name was hella cool at the time, and I was running with it. Katie enjoyed the name so much that she, in turn, gave me a nickname of my own. I was her Fish. 

If I'm brutally honest, I have no clue how the nicknames originated. This part of my memory has been wiped from my mind. All I know is that we had developed them in our music class together and we were both very excited about creating them. 

In contrast to the dwarf nickname fad, which only lasted for a few months and we only used occasionally when we were feeling particularly strange, Dawg and Fish stuck completely. To the point that I think I even forgot Katie's real name for a while, due to always referring to her as Dawg. 

It was always an endearing nickname, meant as a way of signalling that our friendship was solid enough, it warranted a nickname. We would catch sight of each other across the school corridor and shout "Dawg!" or "Fish!" causing several people to turn and marvel at the solidarity of our friendship and the in jokes we held. 

I feel I should put in a disclaimer here, as we embark on the tales of my teenage years. I've mentioned this in passing before, but there is one important thing you all need to be aware of when I talk about this period of my life. As mentioned above, I was in the "performing arts" clique within our school, and so most of my actions were my desperate way of gaining as much attention as I could. I pretty much performed in every aspect of my life. I was also pretty loud... all the time. I think I pulled this off most of the time, and came across as fun instead of annoying, mainly because I did have a pretty amazing set of friends who seemed to respond well to it... 



But anywho, I digress. Back to my Dawg. 

After about a year of calling each other by these names, Dawg and I began to come up with more and more interesting ways to keep the nicknames fresh. We usually came up with these during our music lessons. It is safe to say that, by the time we reached GCSE years, our music teacher became known as... well... annoying. Looking back at it now, I kinda feel sorry for her. We were a nightmare in those classes. We would talk all through the lesson and answer back to her any chance we had. She had no way of controlling a class and we, being teenagers, used to use this for our advantage. I can't tell you how many times I was separated from my friends in those lessons, and asked to go and sit next to someone else. Unfortunately for her, there were only about 15 of us who had chosen to take Music GCSE, and so her moving me to sit next to another person did very little as we all got along with each other equally. 

I loved our Music class. We had theory lessons in the classroom, but at least once a week, we were sent off into smaller practice rooms to work on our compositions and performances for our coursework. Needless to say, my compositions consisted of adolescent angsty songs all about the boy I was completely in love with at the time. One particular lesson, Dawg and I were sent to the classroom next to the main one, and Dawg listened as I played her one of my compositions: "Devil in an Angel's Disguise." ... 

*Remembers song and begins to sing it to herself*

Coz you're the Devil in an Angel's disguise, 
You mean the world to me, but bring tears to my eyes...

*Sighs contently*

Good times. 

Dawg was impressed with the angst. Although, as was the way with most of those lessons when we were left to our own devices, we soon began to deteriorate into, what I believe the kids call; "Larking about."

We quickly got onto the topic of our nicknames and had decided that it was a lot more fun to use these names as a way of insulting each other, rather than the endearing way it had initially been created for. So we embarked on a friendly to and fro of carelessly insulting each other. 

I believe this included my reference to her not only being a Dawg but also female, and the name that then meant she also had. Along the fifth or sixth time of referring to her as a bitch, Dawg started to become creative, knowing that her insults about my Fishy lack of memory weren't cutting it. Turning all of a sudden very serious, she turned to me. 

"I have to say, I'm really surprised that you are able to stand right now." Dawg said. 

I looked at her, confused. "Why?"

"Well, how are you even breathing?" She asked. "You shouldn't be able to survive on land!"

I rolled my eyes. "I guess I'm just special."

Dawg shook her head, not buying it. "I'm sorry Fish, but I'm worried. I don't think it's safe for you to be here."

"Really," I said. "I'm fine, I-"

"I have to do something." She said, striding over to me and grabbing my hand. "I won't let you die Fish! I couldn't live with myself!"

She pulled me across the room, towards the tap. Once she had reached it, she turned on both taps and shoved my head under the faucets. 

"Breathe Fishy, breathe!" She called out, her voice carrying desperation. "I'm here for you, you will survive!"

The water cascaded over me and I found myself laughing uncontrollably. 

"I can breathe!" I called out. 

Dawg laughed at that and let me go, I came up for air, my hair now soaking wet and my shirt and blazer drenched. We both grinned at each other. 

Just at this point, Our-Music-Teacher decided it would be good idea to walk into the room. We sheepishly turned to face her, Dawg was flustered and red faced, I was drenched. Our-Music-Teacher stood in the doorway looking at us both, completely perplexed. 

I can't remember the exact excuse that we gave her for my being wet, I probably came up with some story about how my getting soaking wet was all part of my creative process when composing overly dramatic music... it allowed me to be fresh faced and cold which all contributed towards my composing... I think she bought it, it certainly was something that sounded a lot more like the truth than telling her I was wet because Dawg had been worried I wasn't able to breathe, due to me being secretly a fish, and so was trying to save my life... 

I do kinda love my memories... 

Peace out my lovelies.

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