Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Snip by Any Other Name

The title of this blog, Snippets, was chosen because of the nature of its contents (little bits of everything) and because my long-time nickname is Snip.  When hearing the nickname, people always want to know where it came from. "Why Snip?" as if there's some easy explanation.

There are really only two kinds of nicknames, the obvious ones (Al, for Alison, or Scottie, for our Scottish receptionist at work) and the ones that came about in a bizarre way, after a bender in Vegas, or have evolved over the years.  Snip is one of those kinds of nicknames, minus the Vegas part. It came about in a bizarre way, almost 12 years ago, and evolved from its original form. And now that I'm an adult, retelling a story that happened when I was (ahem) 14 years old just doesn't seem appropriate.  Recently, I've been tempted to make things up.

Why do they call you Snip?
My teacher thought I had a snippy personality.

Why do they call you Snip?

I loved Rice Krispies so much--remember Snap, Crackle, and Pop?--that my parents joked I was the fourth Krispie elf, Snip.

Why do they call you Snip?

I work part time as a moile.

Are any of these the real story? No. Am I going to tell you the real story...

No. Not because I'm embarrassed (okay, I am a little bit) but because it doesn't matter.

So why then, do I continue to go by a childish nickname with embarrassing origins?

The thing about nicknames is they give you a sense of belonging.  Think about it; you only give nicknames to people you really care about (your children) or people you share a strong bond with (teammates). You don't call people you dislike by nicknames (the ones you call them behind their backs don't count) A nickname establishes a familiarity you wouldn't share with just anyone.  And that's why I've come to cherish my stupid little nickname. Not because it relates to an event that happened when I was 14, but because of what it has come to represent.

Everyone in high school called me Snip because of the unnamed incident, though 90% of them weren't there when it happened. And silly as it was, I was happy to have a nickname; it meant I belonged. See, I had a pretty talented group of frIends, who all played on varsity sports teams. It was natural they all had nicknames. But I lacked their athletic prowess, and save for a year on the cross country team, I had no teammates slapping me on the back after games, saying, "Way to go Wilson!" or "Nice job, S Dub!"

Today, there are three main groups of people who call me Snip. My high school friends, my college friends, and my CrossFit friends.  

How did Snip make its way through college and beyond? Well, in my dorm freshman year there were three Stephs in my hallway. One was very tall, one was short, and then there was me. Naturally, those two became Tall Steph and Mini Steph, which left me to be Middle Steph, or Steph Who Lives with Caroline. (I shared a last initial with one of the other girls, so Steph W was out too.) so, to make it easier, I told them to call me Snip. Everyone took to it right away, and I had to laugh when I heard my roommate referring to me as Snip when talking to her mother.

At work I've always been Stephanie, without question. And for a while, I was only Snip to my boyfriend, and to friends who called on the phone. Not surprisingly, those were the times when I felt most comfortable, most like me.

Then I began CrossFit. (Now, I could write several posts on this topic, and probably will. But until then, you can visit my gym's website: CFSBK.)

At CrossFit, I encountered the "multiple Stephs" problem once again. Plus, it's a gym that has a team atmosphere, with people cheering you on as you do difficult workouts. Combine these two factors, and a nickname is bound to arise. "Steph Dub" was predictable but fun, and some people still use it. But there were also some other, more unfortunate nicknames that came up. For example, one day, one of the coaches called me Steph Wiggles, and I was so horrified that I blurted out that he should call me Snip. And he did, and it stuck.

And so the Snip cycle begins anew, and I have a new group where I feel like I belong. Of course, I still get asked all the time, "But what does it really mean?" 

So here's my answer: It means we're friends, I like you, I feel I can be myself with you.

But if you want the real story, it will take quite a bit of tequila, and some prodding. A pencil and paper should be handy. Yes, the true story comes with illustrations.

1 comment:

  1. Man, I thought this was definitely going to lay out all the answers. Well, I'll keep digging.