someone asked me about my nickname “taz” today and said that it drove her crazy when her kids only use nicknames when talking about their friends. i have the same dilemma, my kids will come in and rattle off a list of names taken directly from a comic book! (ok, japanese anime but you get the gist). i say all the time, “CAN I PLEASE HAVE A NAME WITH THAT?!” but after my discussion about “taz” today, i realize that nicknames are sometimes important, even outside your personal circle of friends. it can actually tell an outsider a lot about you. it can also tell you a lot about what your friends think about you (i’m thinking you may want to make sure you have a positive nickname or rethink your friends 😉 ).
i have not always been taz, it’s actually only been around 15 years or so, but even people who knew me as a kid, think that it fits my personality. it does, i let it stick (well, not like i had a real choice in the matter, but i didn’t throw a huge middle school hissy fit about it 😉 ). speaking of middle school, let me back up before i tell you the story about taz.
as i said, i haven’t always been taz. often nicknames are a result of lastnames, a play on words or initials. i was graced with the initials TAB and the lastname bacon… double whammy. i was “bacon” or a cola or wait… what about “full meal deal” or “would you like a TAB with that bacon?” oh… but wait there’s more… my first name is theresa or if you like apostrophes “there’s a bacon” but the torture of my initials/name/lastname was shortlived.
i was in the 8th grade when this fabulous product called sizzlelean suddenly became popular with a new commercial. remember the taglines “move over bacon, now there’s something leaner” or how about “why sizzle fat? when you can sizzle lean…” HELLO!?!?!? my maiden name is bacon, i was in middle school in the 8th grade, i was now sizzlelean. i was sizzlelean for 5 years. i had people come up to me at my high school graduation “hey, sizzlelean, what’s your real name? i just feel like i should know before we graduate and never see each other again.” i’ve mentioned before that i have a huge family, so yes, i have tons of aunts, uncles, cousins who all grew up with the name bacon (went through school, military, whatever), but NONE were in 8th grade when sizzlelean was a star of the diet craze. i do have a couple cousins near enough to me in age to have been targeted, but both dodged the “move over bacon” bullet. i was sizzlelean, i was very skinny… there was no escape. i… was… sizzlelean.
i look back on that time now and wonder what the parents thought when a friend suddenly jumped up and blurted “oh, geesh, gotta go, i have to go grab sizzlelean…” meaning they were supposed to pick me up and not a processed meat product at the store 😉 or how about “we’re having a study group with sizzlelean.” did those parents yell “STOP, explain that?!?!” or was it just a natural thing to accept weird comments from teens? i do wonder…. things that make you go hmmmm 😉
as i graduated from high school and went off to college, i was thrust back into the just plain “bacon” arena. TAB cola had either lost its popularity or maybe just hadn’t reached the south. i have to tell you, it was nice… to be just “bacon”… i never want to see or hear about sizzlelean again, it’s demise has been a godsend!
i used to tell jeff all the time, i didn’t marry you for money (or hair) ;-)… i was screening lastnames before we ever met! 😉 i think he finally believed that might have had a droplet of truth in it when one of my sister’s married a pickel and the other married a pace…. i’ll just let your imagination alone here, there’s nothing more that i can say that you aren’t already thinking 😉
so now i am theresa scott, very bland, no way to get to strange meat products from this one (of course now that i said that, scott towels will buy out hormel black label and bring back sizzlean in some twisted “scott” kind of fashion using taz as their logo). getting married changed my initials to TAS… not quite taz yet eh?
i think back to the day i got dubbed taz, only a few of you were there but it stuck. i was at work at a “new” job, i’d only been there a few weeks and we had a policy where we had to sign out on a board using our initials; TAS of course, were mine. my boss walked in the first time i signed out, and went into a monologue of how i was the new kid who came in like a whirlwind and stirred things up and blew out just as fast and left everyone standing there wondering what they were supposed to be working on and whether or not there was a “funner” way. he walked over to the board, erased the “s” and replaced it with a “z”. looked at all of us, said “that’s better” and walked off like it was normal to rename someone taz. those of you present may not remember it that way, feel free to interject, but that’s how i remember it, like yesterday! i was nervous and little freaked out that he was calling me a whirlwind, not knowing where the monologue was headed (usually it’s a bad thing to be a whirlwind, or caught in one) and the resulting “taz” is kinda etched in my memory. i was taz… how the heck did that happen??? because my boss… knew i was a bacon (many of the others didn’t… but HE did). yay, i was taz, NOT bacon!
so next time your kids come in talking about strange characters from comic books, be glad it’s not strange meat, and smile that they have formed a friendship that may shape their young friends’ lives, hopefully in a positive way. as much as i whine about sizzlelean, it was a HUGE part of my life for 5 years, i can’t say i have a fondness for it, but there is no animosity looking back… i was sizzlelean. my friends called me that, my acquaintances called me that, i answered to that… i was sizzlelean.
next time you hear a nickname, ask about it, i’m sure there is a story there 😉 i know!
i am taz. i am that whirlwind that shows up, stirs things up and often leaves your thoughts in disarray. hey, but i do try to do it with a smile! 😉
i… am taz.