When I was in high school I wasn’t just a Math Nerd, as most of you expect, but also a Band Nerd. I was in choir, the yearly musicals, symphonic band, pep band, jazz band and, of course, marching band. I once calculated out that while attending high school I was doing some type of music practice or performance between five and ten hours a day, every day. Whichever way you looked at it, though, I was a nerd with all of the nerd ways. I was ultra-introverted, which I still am, and extremely shy, which I’m now only slightly shy. And I was totally clueless, particularly when it came to the bane of all high school boys, particularly nerdy ones, high school girls.
I was very rebellious in my quiet way, the last “respectable” boy who wore long hair. I did things my own way, no matter what we were doing. My mom still tells the story of asking my band director what it was like having a field full of kids marching in a toga for Toga Day during “Spirit Week”. He laughed and informed her I was the only one!
Being in all of these musical endeavors meant selling stuff. While I was in high School the cartoon Funky Winkerbean ran a series where they were selling “Band Zucchini”. The creator of Funky Winkerbean lived in a neighboring town and so knew the band dynamic well.
When I look back at my high days I seem to think most fondly of marching band. It was a great time. We went all over northern Ohio to football games and band festivals. We worked hard and were very good. And the practices were great fun. Although a very shy nerd, I enjoyed being in an organization that actually had a few popular girls.
My junior year I had a freshman girl standing on either side of me. I thought they were pretty cute at the time. They were good friends and half flirted with me and all of the way good-naturedly teased me. I enjoyed the attention but had no idea how to do anything more than halfheartedly tease them back. Early in the year they started to call me “Jiggles”. “Jiggles”? Who? Why? I had no idea. At first I was paranoid that I was doing something strange. After a while I grew used to it.
The rest of my junior year and all of my senior year I was affectionately called “Jiggles” by these two. Sometimes people who weren’t in band would give me weird looks, but it was OK. I wasn’t the only one who thought these two were cute and I didn’t mind the attention. And since nobody else called me “Jiggles”, I didn’t care. It was their pet name for me.
At the end of my senior year they finally took pity on me and told me the story. The choir was selling M&Ms in boxes. I was carrying boxes around trying to sell them. For a few days as we did our high-step, vigorous march I made a jiggling noise. Jiggle, stomp, jiggle, stomp. So the two of them, trying to find a new way to tease me, started to call me “Jiggles”.
This was one of the few nicknames I ever had. The only other time I can remember a nickname was when I was a very small child some people called me “T.P.” for “Trent Patrick” and it eventually got stretched to “Teeps”. This nickname was gone by the time I was school age and never heard by any of my school mates.
So why did I bring this up? Well, it seems I have been calling Eloise the wrong name. Well, maybe I wasn’t good enough friends with her. See, she recently went through all of her nicknames and said the one that stuck was “Mello” and that her friends still call her that. In fact, she doesn’t like “Eloise” as much as “Mello”. Well, Mello, I hope I’m now a good enough friend to call you by your rightful nickname. Just don’t call me Jiggles in return, OK?