Nicknames & Tattoos

Say what…Nicknames and Tattoos…what in the world do those two subjects have in common with each other?  Stick with me here, I’ll try to make sense of it.  But, I did warn you I’d be writing on some random topics.

I’ve always loved using nicknames with my friends.  Nicknames can be a way of telling a friend they are special.  They give personal identification and become a “pet” name.  Sadly, sometimes nicknames are mean and a way for others to make fun of you.  But usually that’s not the case, and I think we all like to have that special little name for many of our friends and family.   In my book, nicknames are fun!

I’ve literally had dozens of nicknames in my 57 years.  My dad called my “Jeffer”. It was his special name and it always let me know that he not only loved me but really enjoyed spending time with me. Other favorites have been Schmee, Small, Bootdog (I never should have bought those Joe Namath dingo boots that I thought were so cool), Smalley, Jeffrey, and now my most recent nickname “Schmackdaddy.”

A year ago, Maria and I packed up our bags, said good-bye to life-long careers and moved to New York City to help our son expand and grow his amazing and extremely popular new cookie business. When I arrived, Zach said I needed a nickname.  He is “Schmackary”, his high school nickname that is a play off his real name Zachary Schmahl.  Schmackary’s is also the name of his business and he makes “Lip Schmackin’ good cookies” (our slogan).

Maria went to NYC often in the first year of Zach’s business to help at the store and she became “Mama Schmack”.  Zach suggested that I go by “Papa Schmack” but I said no way… that sounds like a Smurf!  I’m going to be “Schmackdaddy”.  Zach didn’t like it, said it made me sound like some kind of rap singer.  I retorted “Oh yeah, well I might just get me a big ole gold Schmackdaddy chain to hang around my neck and show off my new nickname.”  Zach just rolled his eyes and knew it would be pointless to try and argue with me.

I also like to tease Zach every once in a while and call him “boss!”  After all, I am now working for him and he is my boss.  Ironically, I never thought in a million years that would happen.

Within our little family of three, Maria calls me “Schmee” and I call her “Moe.”  Zach sticks with the traditional “Mom and Dad”, and he’s now officially “Schmackary” to us.  Every once in a while, they’ll call me “Jeff!” and that’s when I know I’ve done something to make them mad.

When Zach was growing up, I called him dozens of nicknames and I enjoyed coming up with new ones all the time.  Some of my favorites: Zach Attack, Zach Monster, Little Twerp, Zach-coo-ree, Zach-coo-rah, The Zach Meister, Freaky Z, the list went on and on.  Again, I think nicknames are fun!

Now on to tattoos.  I detest them!

I just don’t get it, why in the world would a person want to put a permanent marking on their skin?  Tastes change, styles change, we change…but that tattoo (many times applied while in a drunken stupor) is going to be with you forever buddy.  And girl, do you have any idea what that tramp track across your back will look like after stretch marks or your inevitable 30+ pound age induced weight gain?  Yep, that cute little fish might become a whale some day.

When tattoos became the “in” thing in the early 80’s, I couldn’t wait for them to quickly go out of style.  I knew it would be a passing fad and then those tattoo bearers would look back and say “what was I thinking? This thing is permanent…what a dumb decision.”  Well, was I ever dead wrong.  Tattoos have become more and more popular and it is certainly not a passing fad.  Although, the tattoo removal business is also growing rather quickly, too.

Zach knew full well my opinion on tattoos and I always wondered if he’d get one once he left the nest.  About six years ago, we were on a plane ride and when he reached up to put something in the overhead bin his shirt lifted and there it was!  A small sun tattoo on his lower right hip.  I loudly exclaimed “What is that?”  He quickly sat down, turned five shades of red, and looked at me angrily and said “Mom’s known about it for two years, at least I could tell her!”  I was convicted, but still thought to myself that was really dumb of you Zach.

Six months ago, Zach took a trip to California to visit old friends.  Before he left, he warned us that he was likely to come back with a new tattoo.  Sure enough, when he returned he proudly showed off his Lucille Ball tattoo on the inside of his upper left arm.  I actually liked it because it fit his personality perfectly.  Growing up, Zach loved watching “I Love Lucy” re-runs on Nickelodeon.  During each episode, he would burst out laughing again and again enjoying the slap stick antics of his all-time favorite actress.

In the last year, my thoughts have evolved (New York City will do that to you) in regard to tattoos.  I no longer judge people for getting them.  It’s their body, their choice and who am I to say what is right or wrong for someone else.  I’m okay with tattoos now and it doesn’t bother me if a person has one, twenty, or even a body full of tattoos.

I know Zach will always remember me as “Schmackdaddy.”  And you know what, I might just go out at get me a Schmackdaddy tattoo one of these days!  If I do, I’ll be sure to share my new permanent body mark with you.

Medical/Personal Update

A lot of people ask me, “How are you feeling? How are you doing?”  Primarily they’re asking how am I feeling physically…and how am I handling all of this mentally.

But here is what’s in my heart…my soul right now.  Happiness & Humility.

We all have strengths and weakness.  Many times our strengths lead directly to our weaknesses.  Here are some things I know about myself.

I have confidence, but that leads to ego, cockiness, arrogance.

I have accomplishments, but that leads to pride, bragging, vanity.

I have passion, but that leads to selfishness, ignoring others and not spending enough time with my family, particularly Maria.  My passion for work and golf has done that.

So why do I feel happiness and humility right now?  Mainly, because I’ve heard from so many people and they’ve said so many nice things.  I’m happy because those folks have said I’ve had a positive impact on their lives…and that feels good.  I am humbled because of the nice things they’ve said and that they’ve gone out of their way to show they love, appreciate and respect me…and that they’ve set aside time to pray for me.  That is humbling.

Happiness & Humility, no weakness there.

Next Stop: Dark Closets