grandmother-waving-goodbye

Psychology

VOL 88 ISSUE 2

More than 30 years after his grandparents cheerfully hailed him at Buchanan University, Thomas Crudupper is still struggling with episodes of severe social anxiety and disturbingly low self-esteem, according to his team of therapists. On that fateful late September Saturday, Crudupper was shirtless and sucking down an Oranjeboom Lager, deftly playing hacky sack barefoot on the lush lawn of the main quad, where a Greek Life Barbecue had attracted more than half the student body. After driving from New Jersey and making surprisingly good time, his grandparents had foregone checking into their motel and proceeded directly to the campus, even though they were scheduled to meet Crudupper four hours later for dinner. Spying their descendant, they waved and yelled over and over again, while approaching unbelievably slowly, “Howdy doo, Little Tinkus!” By broadcasting the freshman’s long-abandoned childhood nickname, the origins of which were murky, and combining it with an instantly unforgettable, archaic greeting–in a most public setting during an especially critical stage of socialization and acceptance for their grandson–the visitors unwittingly triggered Crudupper’s Mortification Resonance Syndrome (MRS). To this day, the sullen loner cannot bear to be greeted from a distance by an older adult, engage in hacky sack, cavort in public without a shirt, drink Oranjeboom, nor can he bear even the thought of that unspeakable name that he must carry forever.

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