Pet Names, Perception And Truth

Katie Young
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Wednesday - November 29, 2006

Something sounds fishy.

A pet name is typically a name of endearment. Often, it is short, clever, cute and sweet, connoting the heartfelt sentiments of the bearer of such name.

My parents were the first ones to give me a pet name. As a child, my father used to call me “Punkin” and “Monkey,” while my mother preferred “Sweet Pea” and “Bun-Bun.”

Past boyfriends over the years made their own original pet names for me - usually animal-like in nature - such as “Pup” and even “Hippopotamus” (don’t ask).

There’s even an online web-site dedicated to naming your true love. It’s called the “Sweetheart Pet Name Generator.” But all I got out of that site was a series of pet names for myself that all ended in the word “treasure.”

I have to say, however, that my favorite all-time pet name was bestowed upon me recently by my new honey. (Being the private guy he is, he prefers to remain anonymous in this column, and who can blame him, really?)

Out of the blue one day as I was washing dishes, my man came up behind me, wrapped his arms around my shoulders and said in his best imitation country accent, “Looks like I caught me a big ol’ catfish.”

I burst out laughing. “First of all,” I said, “your accent leaves something to be desired. Second of all, you really don’t know much about wooing a woman if you’re going to refer to me as a ‘big ol’ anything.’”

“OK,” he said, “Let me try again. How about a tiny tuna?”

“A tuna?!” I said. Something didn’t sound right. “Try again. What about something sweet, like an angel fish?”

My man is a fisherman by hobby, so he stood, pondering the improbability of catching an angel fish the size of me on any reef. We had to think of larger, open ocean fish.

After much consideration, he said, “I’ve got it! You are the perfect-sized mahimahi.”

I giggled. “OK,” I said, “I can live with that.”

three star

It’s all about perception. Have you ever played that game where you close one eye, hold up your finger to cover something in the distance, and then switch closed eyes to see how your finger no longer covers the object, even though you haven’t moved?

I had a friend who could do this for hours and still get a kick out of it. The game has a larger message for me. It’s all about perception.

Every person you encounter will have a different perception - about life, religion and love. They may also have a different perception about you than you’d like. They might think you suck up to the boss, even though you really happen to agree with what the boss has to say. They might think you’re conceited, even though you feel you’re just confident.

The point is, no matter what, you can’t get every person in the world to have the same perception as you. You can let it bother you, you can try to argue the person into a new perception, or you can let it go.

Let that person think what they want. You know your own truth. And if you’re OK with the perception you have, then that’s all you need.


three star

The comedic truth. Recently, I had the pleasure of attending one of The Comedy Festival 2006 events at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. As I was sitting there, I began thinking about the comics on stage (who included Katt Williams, Daymon Wayans, Mo’Nique and Mike Epps) and the material that garnered the most laughs from the audience of hundreds.

What I found wasn’t so much of a surprise. What people laughed at the most was the truth. They chuckled at other jokes, but laughed relentlessly at the bits that were raw, naked and brutally honest. Why? Because the comics were saying exactly what the audience was thinking, but would never dare to speak themselves.

There is something freeing about hearing the very thoughts you have in your own mind played out on a stage, and then, to hear the audience laugh along in agreement with you.

The world can be an absurd place. A laugh allows you to let go - even if it’s just for a moment - of all the tension your anger and frustration can create.

Angry about the war? Make a joke about President Bush that will have people groaning and nodding their heads. Think you’ve got it bad at home? Crack a joke that all women are crazy and see the couples in the audience nudge each other knowingly. Or how about just a common sense joke about how the “k” in “knife” really does us no good and is just plain confusing?

Forget fantasy, this is the age of reality. We may still be gathering the courage to say, out loud, what we really feel, but in the meantime I think we all are just looking for something a little more real.

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