Looking back I'm realizing I have something in common with my Grandpa in that I liked to give people nicknames, and I did this as far back as kindergarten. There was a girl I named Kitten and one I called Rose, and a boy I called Elf, another boy I called A&W Rootbeer. Some of them I remember why I named them, and others are senseless. Like Chicken Leg. Cute little blond kid in 1st grade --- no idea why I called him that.
One day Chicken Leg and I were out at recess on the merry-go-round. You know, the old metal ones that you could lose your grip on and fly off to bust your head open. But that's not what happened this day.
On this day I noticed a hole rusted out near the center of the merry-go-round. It was completely dark down in that hole. I wanted to reach in there and see what I could feel, but we were always spinning, which might make it more dangerous. So of course I asked Chicken Leg to reach in there for me.
Chicken Leg was cautious. The merry-go-round was stopped now and we both tried to peek down there. He said, "What if something bites me." And I said, "You're a chicken, Chicken Leg."
For some reason Chicken Leg waited until the merry-go-round was spinning again before he mustered up the courage to reach in there. For a split-second I thought perhaps I should stop him, but I was too curious. He got most of his arm down in there, then suddenly he screamed and yanked it back out. His finger was bleeding.
Big kids came and stopped the merry-go-round for us, and a teacher picked up Chicken Leg and carried him away. He was gone the rest of the day, but he was back again the next day just fine, only his finger was wrapped in gauze.
Chicken Leg didn't hold that against me at all, but I really felt like he should have, and I was eaten up with guilt. I realized that day if I wanted to have someone else be a guinea pig for my amusement and curiosity, I'd pick the mean kids in class.