Bullet in yo’ head
When I was maybe 5 I was waiting beside the car in the cold while my mother frantically finished up the paperwork for our new day care before she had to rush off to work. She got to the boxes on the form titled “Name of Child” followed by “Child’s Nickname.” Of course it meant what she ended up putting: Greg, short for Gregory. But I saw an opportunity to properly declare myself. “Put my nickname as Bullet!” I pleaded. I didn’t even understand bullets. For me, the word actually evoked the image of Bullet Bill from the Super Mario Brothers series. Anyway. She gave me a firm enough “no” that I knew better than to argue. I pouted and proceeded to call myself “Bullet” for the next week or so. I craved a creative nickname, not just “X — short for Y.” I failed at it several times. Greg was always what stuck. Or “tall guy” or “big man” or for the particularly self-contratulatory clever types, “tiny.” Now I know I just didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t assert my self-nicked-name. I wasn’t loud enough about it. I knew that for certain today as I drove behind a pickup truck with the vanity plate “1BIGGDOGG” perched above a pair of dangling truck balls. I knew without asking that Bigg Dogg was this gentleman’s name. In polite company, perhaps his name is “Jimmy, but my friends call me Bigg Dogg.” Same thing goes for the skinny guy I passed on 9th St. with the arm tattoo that declared him as “King Penis.” I bet everyone calls him that. As I get older I often wonder: was it maturity that made me okay and even proud of “Greg?” Or cowardice? Did I lose some part of the young, enthusiastic, 5-year-old me by not sticking with “Bullet?” Am I less of a man or more of a man as merely “Greg?” These questions will undoubtably keep me up at night, as I contemplate the life that Bullet Woods might have led. Maybe his Honda Civic would have truck balls.