Friday, May 22, 2015

Names do hurt, even years later - Baby Huey

Growing up, I was a short, thin child, and no more naive than any other 10-year-old. 

My father took to calling me Baby Huey, 

Baby Huey was a gigantic, naive, and bumbling duckling cartoon character.  

I took this to mean that my father thought I was fat and stupid.

I don't know if that was his intention.  I challenged him on it when I was an adult and he denied ever saying it.

He couldn't remember calling me a name that scarred my self-esteem for years.


He also didn't remember telling me I would never be able to drive a car with a manual transmission "because you won't be able to shift in the corners".  I challenged him on this one when I started driving a semi-truck with 13 gears. "I never said that," he claimed.

I still drive a stick shift.  And I still occasionally think about his comment when I'm driving around a corner.

What's my point?    

Off-hand remarks can scar.  Maybe I was an overly sensitive child.  Or maybe I was just a child wanting validation from her father.

I was devastated for years by remarks that my father didn't even remember making.  It still bothers me that I don't know what his motivation was.  

Did he think he was being funny?

Did he truly think I was stupid or incapable? 

Or was he just drunk?  And does that excuse it?  

 And why, 50 years later, does it still, sometimes, bother me?

Wikipedia link to Baby Huey


  1. This post reminded me of my grandfather's nickname for me: dumb dumb. Unfortunately, he didn't live long enough for me to ask why he selected this as my nickname. I think it had to do with my size as a child.

    1. They don't realize how much their words hurt.

  2. Thank you very much for this great post.