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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Turkey Lips

Cucumber. Bugs. Turtle dumpling. My love, my pet, my sweet babboo. What did I do to be given these nicknames? I became my father’s daughter. When I’m at home, every morning I wake up and enter the kitchen for breakfast. Something like “my green bean machine” greets me. I am not alone in this experience. My mother and sister are also regularly addressed this way in almost every interaction with my dad.

It has always been part of my life, so I never really questioned what was behind the pet names. At least until last Thanksgiving, when my father, two brothers and I had a few glasses of wine after the others went to sleep. “Are you going to bed, my sweet babboo?” I was asked as I got up from the table for a refill.

Ignoring the question, “Dad, what is a babboo?”
“I don’t know.”
“Where did you hear it?”
“I don’t remember.”
“Then why do you always call me your sweet babboo?”
“Because I like the way it sounds.”

That was all the explanation necessary, for the only thing that any of these words or phrases have in common is that they are fun to say. As I marveled at how I had never actually sought the origins of these nicknames, my dad decided it was time for a life lesson.

He explained that if a guy wants to give a girl a nickname, he shouldn’t call her something boring like cupcake or sweetie pie, “Come on, she’s not sweet all the time.” He should call her something he enjoys saying. According to him, my brothers needed to start stepping up in this aspect of a relationship. If they are dating a girl they really like, they need to get creative. And I need to find a guy who is crazy enough to come up with such names for me. We all began to brainstorm different ideas of pet names my brothers could use. After a minute or two of pondering, my older brother offered, “my cauliflower curry.” Not bad, we agreed. A few minutes later, “my little water chestnut.” My younger brother had raised the stakes. This continued for longer than I should admit. And not all of them were vegetables.

I learned a lot that night. As you may have guessed, the Bouey family is a bit odd. But it is easy to overlook the pure happiness we can experience from something so basic. We seek pleasure from purposeful sources and activities, but we forget about the little things that have no point, yet endlessly delight us. Happiness is something we are all continuously striving for and we search for it in movies, books, exercise, friendships, romance and numerous other sources. But we forget to look right under our noses. Indulgences that are so ridiculously goofy yet simple to achieve and innocent seem rarely sought after or enjoyed.

Whether I am shamelessly rocking out to one hit wonders on the radio, having conversations with someone using only facial expressions, or high-fiving a person in an entirely inappropriate situation, I need to embrace my quirkiness and share it with the people I care for. For me, an integral component of love is the willingness to let your significant other see and experience your lunacy. It is one way to evidence the uniqueness of your relationship. You know they will only love you the more for it (although not everyone else will).

So when I go home this spring break and first see my dad, I am already looking forward to the warmest welcome, “Hey, Squartaguatza! How was the drive?”

-Colleen Bouey


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