I don’t think she meant it as a compliment. I don’t see how I could take it as one. What our then 12-year-old daughter said that was not very flattering was, “Dad, you remind me of Alfalfa.”

How would you take the comment? I did look in the mirror and go, “Huh?”

You see, we have pictures of me as a kid, and I had a big hair swoosh that I hated. It was a big curl that haunted me as a kid and still shows up in my childhood pictures. One of my goals as a kid was to get rid of the big curl in my hair. There was (it’s still around) a gel product called Dippity-do. I kept them in business for years. Some of their stock holders knew me by name. I found that a gob of Dippity-do on the curl would hold it in place at school.

People said it looked cute, but I wasn’t buying it. If someone could have convinced me that “Curls get the girls,” then maybe I could have accepted it. But they didn’t, and I couldn’t. I spent the better part of my childhood trying to get the curl to go away so that I could have a social life. It didn’t, and I didn’t.

Natalie has seen pictures of me as a kid, and she has heard the Dippity-do stories. I hope that she said to me “Dad, you remind me of Alfalfa,” because she has seen the pictures and heard the stories, not because of my current appearance. She knows about Alfalfa from the TV show and movie by the same name, “The Little Rascals.”

Actually, I don’t see the resemblance.

Another thing that bothered me as a kid, and that kept the girls away, was that I was so skinny. I got the nickname, Wormy. Would any girl in her right mind want to go out with Wormy?

Not only was my childhood consumed with the use of Dippity-do, but also the consumption of milkshakes. I wanted desperately to gain weight, and thus, shake off the nickname. When I go to my hometown, to this day, I am known as Wormy, Worm, or Wormy D (Davis).

The thing about nicknames is you don’t get to pick your own.  Somebody else picks it for you.  In my case, since I resembled a worm with my body build, I got stuck with it.  I would have preferred a nickname such as Pencil, or Stick, or maybe even Q-tip, but like I said, you don’t get to pick your own nickname.  By the way, since it is beach weather, I hated the beach. I had to have suspenders to hold up my bathing suit, which made for some bad tan lines.

Jesus had a motley crew of twelve disciples and with them, he changed the world.  At least three of them had nicknames.  James and John, brothers with short fuses, got the moniker, Sons of Thunder.  And then Simon Peter got the nickname Rock.  Guess who gave it to him?  Jesus.  Jesus said of Simon Peter, “You shall be called Rock, and upon this rock, I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).

I would give anything if someone had nicknamed me Rock.  Wormy is about as opposite of Rock as one could get.  Rock symbolizes strength.  Wormy symbolizes weakness.  Simon Peter had to be strong in his faith to endure the hardships that being a disciple would bring him.  Tradition says that he was put to death by crucifixion for Christ.  He literally took up his cross and followed Jesus.  He was a rock.

I wonder what nickname my kids would give me.  I hope it would be a strong, not weak, one.  Kids everywhere need mentors and role models.   So, be a rock, not a worm.

By the way, if your sons have curls, send them to me. I will tell them that “curls get the girls.”

~Pastor Steve

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