Growing Up With The Nickname “Beave”

This is going to be a tough one for me to get through, but I could never fully tell my story without bringing up “Beave”. For as much shit as I give my “asshole” sister for being the perfect physical arrangement of Steve Urkel and Billy Ray Cyrus, I wasn’t exactly the equivalent of an Olsen twin growing up either. Aside from already resembling a young Pocahontas from my unusually dark complexion that matched no one else’s in my entire family, I also had what my sisters referred to as “Beave teeth”.

Large or buck front teeth aren’t entirely uncommon in children. In fact, I’ve seen plenty of kids who looked like they could floss with a garden hose. However, mine were not even close to being in the same size range as those lucky souls. Oh no, mine were catastrophically bulkier than that of any other human being under the age of 10 that hadn’t yet been exposed to oral surgery. My teeth were so hyper-developed that when I smiled it looked like I could easily consume an entire forest in mere minutes. That, combined with my darker than normal complexion, and hence the nickname “Beave” is born.

Now, my sisters thought it was absolutely hilarious to not only relentlessly tease me about my over-sized carrot cutters but to have all their friends in on the joke too. Plenty of times when I’d come home from school or practice and find my sisters and their friends hanging out on the back porch – then, I’d instantly hear the urgent beckoning of “SOMEONE CALL ANIMAL PATROL! THE BEAVE IS ON THE LOOSE!” Then they would laugh and cry from laughing and then point. I’m not sure how many times I wanted to tell them to “Buck off!” but deep down, I knew it was true. I looked like a Beaver and there was no way of hiding it.

I remember the day the dentist FINALLY referred me to an Orthodontist. It was like Christmas morning to a 12 year old with horse teeth and older siblings. I was probably the only middle schooler in existence who patiently waited in excitement for the day I could get a bunch of metal screwed into my jaw. At last, I got them and I knew the teasing would finally stop and maybe – just maybe – the older kids would invite me to sit out on the porch and we could all tease our younger brother about the fact his nickname was “Beans”.*

But, it didn’t happen.

I went from the original “Beave” to “Beave in Restraints!”

From then on, I knew the nickname would never, ever go away. I only had my braces on for 2 years and luckily, I DID finally grow into my teeth after all. It never matters though. Once siblings find something to tease you about that makes you want to gnaw straight through their stupid little heads, it’ll stick. And it will stick forever. Despite the fact my pearly whites no longer bear a resemblance to any critter, the legend of the Beave still haunts me.

A few years back, I decided it was time to hide way back in the library of my University’s campus and do what any other college kid does while being completely secluded: I Googled myself. I didn’t expect to find much else but some awards from high school and maybe an embarrassing photo from a play I did. Unfortunately, what I did find was way worse. The second link down after I typed in my full name was a website for a beaver dam.

I s**t you not, a BEAVER DAM.

I didn’t even know beavers had invaded the world wide web and here I was staring at a real-life website for their natural habitat in Montana. I was furious. I immediately called my eldest sister and went on a rampage about how I couldn’t believe they linked my name to a beaver website as a sick joke. She denied it and still to this day denies it… while laughing.

Although I feel absolutely no particular kinship or empathy toward a beaver as I do to the word “Damnit”,( I will explain that later, I promise) the truth of the matter is, it’s apart of my identity. If life were fair and we were allowed to choose our own nicknames growing up, of course I’d choose something more along the lines of “Kate the Great” opposed to “Beave”. But “Beave” I am, and “Beave” I shall remain for the rest of my days. I have come to learn and accept that you can’t pick your siblings just like you can’t pick your embarrassing nicknames. However, what you can do is publicly humiliate them by writing on a social forum where you can lay all their s**t out for everyone to see. And all from your own personal point of view.

So, you are welcome, my dearest siblings.


*One of my younger brother’s names is Keenan. So we’d call him “Keen Bean” which eventually just turned into calling him, “Beans”. That lucky son-of-a-bitch!

[The original “Beave” teeth]

[“Beaver in Restraints” Note the amazing butterfly clips as well. So stylish.]

CONFESSION: I never, ever thought in a million years I’d be sharing this. You should feel REALLY special. I tried to hide all these photos at one point in my life because they are so mortifying – and I thought no man would ever want to date me afterwards. If you’re a male and find me unattractive after seeing/reading this…. I completely understand. I think you’re a shallow d-bag, but I COMPLETELY understand.

Kate Mussey is an aspiring writer with deep devotions toward books, hot beverages and the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Sometimes separate, sometimes all at once. She grew up in the middle of a large family and writes mostly about her awkward and kooky childhood. If you’d like to get another laugh at her expense, follow her blog.