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August 19, 2018

Nicknames I Can’t Pull Off

No matter how sparkling your personality, or how conventionally attractive your face, a good nickname can do wonders for your reputation.

I’m not talking about a simple truncation of your name. That’s not special. Everyone can do it, including short-named people, although their options are sometimes limited to just a single letter. No; that kind of nickname only exposes the laziness of friends and family.

I’m talking about nicknames that tell a story, a mythos that can precede you. It’s your personal brand from other peoples’ mouths. They might as well be wearing T-shirts about you. If you can pull off a cool nickname, what more do you need?

Some people can’t, though, and I’m almost certainly one of them. But here are some nicknames that I could have, if I changed some fundamental things about myself:


My limbs are long and spindly for sure, and if you ever saw me on the wall at the climbing gym, you might be like, “Yo, buddy, where’s your egg sac?” or even just feel a bit disgusted inside.

But I doubt I’d ever be able to make this one stick. Maybe a neck tattoo would help, or if I were publicly cruel to more strangers.

“The Needle”

For someone as tall and thin as me, with the ability to get under peoples’ skin, “The Needle” would be an apt nickname, and it might cause people to think twice before fuckin’ with me (as sometimes they do). “There’s the Needle,” they’d say. “Better stay out of his way.”

Unfortunately, it brings to mind intravenous drugs, and I have neither the heroin addiction nor the recovery story to give this one the proper credibility. Plus, there’s definitely the danger of people using the, “Is that because you’re such a prick?” line against me. I still can’t think of any comebacks to that one.

“The Knife”

If I honed my insults a little better, so that they cut deep and cold, I could start getting people to call me “The Knife.” A prominent facial scar would definitely help drive the point home. But that’d take a certain commitment to insultcraft, and I’m not sure I’m prepared for the social consequences of that. I might have to start carrying a knife.

“The Surface”

You know, because I’m so smooth? Unfortunately I’m slightly too clumsy to properly do this one justice, and I’d probably have to explain the name to people more often than not, which is decidedly un-smooth. Also, Microsoft mostly ruined this word, and I might not legally be able to use it for myself.


To bring it back to lacerations for a second, a good scar teases a story just as well or better than a nickname. Now, I know what you’re going to say: “If you want to cut your face so bad, just do it!” Ease up there. For this one it doesn’t even have to be the face. It could be the hand, or even a good one across the chest. If it’s not visible immediately, even better: people hear it and think, “where’s the scar?” and they can make up their own gruesome story.

The trouble with this one is competition. If someone else wants that nickname for themselves, all they have to do is get a wilder scar. And there are professionals that will do this for even just a few hundred dollars. I could end up with a kind of arms race on my hands. And what, then, if people instead start calling me “Gauze”?

So I guess I’ll just stick to my given name for now, at least until my personality changes, or I get a significant injury. I’ll re-evaluate if I ever get a motorcycle.

Posted in: Let's Get Personal

August 15, 2013

Grocery Shopping Tips

When I was young I remember some “smart shopper” tips that were drilled into me, making me feel smart. How was I to know that some of them were false?

  • “Never shop hungry” always reminded me to eat something before I went to the store. The premise is that if you’re hungry, you’ll buy all sorts of “impulse foods” like pizza pockets and English muffins instead of “good” foods like turnips. While I may be more cutthroat and focused when my stomach is growling, it does not rob me of all logic, so today I did an experiment, and shopped hungry. Although I almost passed out on the walk home, my bags were laden with quality food that I really wanted to eat, and as soon as I unpacked my groceries, I made a delicious salad, with cranberries and sunflower seeds from the bulk section.

  • “Always get milk from the back of the fridge” is actually still a good tip, although the design of the milk shelves in my local store discourages this practice by making it hard to reach back there. Luckily I have long arms.

These are the only “smart shopper” tips I can really remember, so I guess one for two isn’t bad. But I have tips of my own that I will now share.

  • “Avoid the salt fridge at all costs” - you know the one, with the frozen pizzas and mozza sticks and wieners dipped in batter. Just don’t look at that fridge! What, do you want to eat 200% of your daily sodium needs in a single sitting? Or are you just going to eat 4 mozza sticks? No, because you heated the toaster oven to 450° and you don’t want to waste the heat. Just roast up some red peppers and onions. They’re delicious.

  • “Tune out the sale colour” - stores use tags of a brighter, sometimes even neon colour to denote a price drop, or “sale,” on their products. You might think, “Sale! I can save money by making a choice right now!” However, most of the sales are terrible. Six dollars is still too much to pay for ice cream, hoofprints or not. And don’t let it affect your bread decisions, because all you’ll get with economy bread is mold, days earlier. There’s plenty of old bread in the dumpster out behind the store, if you return under the cover of darkness.

  • “Do you need cheese?” - sometimes the answer is a resounding “yes,” such as when you’ve promised to make someone cheese-bread or have committed to a fondue party with co-workers. But usually cheese is optional. First of all, it’s the most expensive thing in the store, other than those artisanal oils with the sprigs of parsley in the bottles. You couldn’t spare a dollar for the homeless man you passed on the street, but you’ll drop nine on a wedge of Jarlsberg? It is smoky, I’ll admit, but you’re only cheating yourself. And the homeless man. I bet if you gave him the cheese, he wouldn’t even accept it, and you’d still feel like an awful person.

That’s all for grocery tips this week. Next time, I’ll be talking about different varieties of egg and how the brown, speckled ones, which look the most delicious, are in fact no different from the white kind.

Posted in: Life Haxx