Nablopomo Day 14: A Girl Named Tuna

Question. If you were to see someone stare right at you and exclaim “tuna!” what would be your first reaction? Whether that person was mentally sound or not, you’d probably avoid them, right? That would be the normal reaction to have. Unfortunately, normal and Alice Bennett never have quite gone hand in hand, which is why, at the sound of someone shouting “TUNNNNAAA!” I will instinctively look to the noise’s source and give a cheery wave.

To backtrack a little, during my secondary school days I was obsessed with the consumption of tuna fish. Pretty much every lunch consumed in the school canteen was tuna based. Jacket potatoes, wraps, baguettes, you name it, (as long as it had tuna in it) I ate it. To my small group of friends I was known as ‘tuna’, to the dinner ladies serving the jacket potatoes I was known as “the usual?” (and let me tell you, in a school of 1300 students it was quite an achievement to have your order remembered). For about three years I accepted my nickname as a rite of passage. With three other Alices in my year I also enjoyed being distinguishable from the heard.

Then I grew up.

When I left for university I decided I didn’t want to be linked to a smelly tinned fish that not everyone likes. In addition, on a student budget tuna turned from being a staple into a luxury food product, one that was seldom consumed in the face of cheap chips and discount chocolate. On every level, the name ‘tuna’ had to go. After eighteen years of avoiding the cliché I found myself shouting over bass line music “it’s Alice, you know, as in Alice in Wonderland?” To the most part it worked, I was able to breeze through university with no in-joke nicknames. However what I have discovered is that old habits die hard which is why, five years after secondary school, my Meerkat reactions are being activated still by someone yelling tuna from the other side of the street. My old school friends persist on doing it because they know it’s the only way to get my attention and, as much as it pains me to say it, it still works.

Why couldn’t I have just stuck with pizza and burgers?

(Written in response to the WordPress Daily Prompt, Fish)

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