“poopie” and other names that can define character

I read recently an interview written by Gordon Pitts in The Globe and Mail.  Pitts sat down with the former CEO of The Home Depot, Annette Verschuren and got a great story.  Not only was the article interesting to read because of her work history, but he unearthed a nugget(no pun intended)  when he found that Verschuren’s childhood nickname was “poopie”.  Verschuren explains that there was a consistent odour of cow manure on her clothes because of her morning chores on the family farm.

There was a boy in my grade one class who sadly received the moniker,”poopie-pants” because he pooped his pants while waiting to go into the library for story time.  I was both mortified for him and felt sad too.  The poor guy was known as “poopie pants, or sometimes “pp”, all through grade school.  I don’t know if he feels that that incident was something that gave him strength; helped him develop empathy or, served to always shame him.  These kinds of things can go either way.

Not long after the “poopie pants” saga,  I was given the nick name “pelican”; or “peli” for short by a guy named Micheal.  It didn’t bother me.  Hardly anyone knew back-in-the-day what a pelican was.  I sort of liked the mysteriousness of it.  I was after-all only in grade two by then.   Michael thought that a pelican had long skinny, nobby legs…like mine.  Finally in grade four, and loving a dictionary, I eventually found out that of course he meant a flamingo.  Thinking that I was really smart, I described the differences between the two.  Michael then pronounced “either way, they both have big mouths”.  Ouch!  This was so unfair because he was the bully!…. I was indignant because I was using my “big mouth” responsibly; to stand up to him when ever he made fun of people.   No matter, Peli stuck all the way to high school.

I love that Ms.Verschuren chose not to run or hide from her nickname.  She readily admits that some of her friends still call her poopie.  It speaks to the fact that she embraced her family and her work on the farm.  There is a pragmatic quality to the acceptance of what could have been a raw insecurity.  This same pragmatism clearly served her well as she steadfastly pursued a career in big business, creating access for herself to the upper echelon as CEO of The Home Depot Canada. I believe that Ms. Verschuren understood the necessity to examine fearlessly that which we wish to grow.  In examination, practicing a consistent holistic viewpoint; is the identification of the good with the bad. However, with the ability to see it all, comes the opportunity to see the flow of one to the other, so that in the end things are neither good nor bad, but part of the same whole.

This quotation is from a book of daily meditations,  “Awakenings” Asian Wisdom for Every Day.

For me, this means accepting in totality who we are and from what stock we are made.   It means looking deeply at all aspects of our nature in order to embrace without qualification the uniqueness given well before birth.  If we can go into all the nooks and crannies of our selves, then we have the opportunity and gift to deliver to the world our truest version…with no apologies, even if we have poop in our pants or on our boots!


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