About

Hello! My nickname is Shigs – it’s derived from my last name. I was first called Shigs over 31 years ago by a grammar school classmate named Shah. He’s wasn’t a particularly good friend of mine and I really didn’t see him very often (except when we played basketball together for our Catholic grammer school, St. Joseph’s).

Shah shouted out the name to me during a game and it caught me by surprise. To tell you the truth, I really didn’t like it at first. Over time I’ve come to embrace my nickname. It has become a part of who I am.

But one of the other reasons why I’ve embraced the nickname is the story of what happened to Shah after we left St. Joe’s. You see he was of Arab descent and his family lived in a pretty poor area yet they managed to send him to a private Catholic school. My understanding (unconfirmed though it is) was that Shah had a pretty tough home life. He always managed to put on smile but from what I understand he was really suffering inside. A few years after I graduated from grammar school, I ran into his brother and asked how Shah was doing.

In a very matter of fact way, his brother told me that things weren’t going so well and Shah committed suicide. He told me that his brother locked himself in their garage with the car running. Shah died of carbon monoxide poisioning – it must have been terrible. I was really caught off guard by all of this because Shah was one of the handsome, cool kids. All the girls liked him but what was great about Shah was that he was friendly to everyone (even the kids that were more focused on academics or were geeky). He was smart and seemed to have a bright future ahead of himself.

So whenever I hear that nickname today, I think about Shah. I feel his presence, I can literally see his curly brown hair and dark skin, his friendly smile. I know that he’s in a much better place and we are linked together forever because of the nickname that he gave me over 30 years ago. Thanks, Shah.

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