I've been called a lot of things in my life. When I was a baby my Mother called my "Little Lamb." My Dad called me "Drewski." I'm sure my siblings had names for me but I've blocked those from memory.
One year for vacation we went to Virginia beach. That day there happened to be some military lifeguards off duty and they were throwing children into the ocean. Throwing probably doesn't do it justice. They were Launching kids six or seven feet up into they air where we could land safely in the waves. Because I was the youngest and also the smallest and lightest I was thrown higher than anyone else. Imagine a 50 lbs kid being launched by four lifeguards who would have put David Hasselhoff to shame. My family has pictures of me 12 feet above the waves, laughing and screaming each time. After that they called me "Sky-Willie."
In high school, I was called "God Hog." My classmates would tease me that I spent so much time talking with God that nobody else could get a word in edge wise. Some how what they meant as a tease I took as a badge of honor.
When I was traveling to my sisters in Uganda, I remember driving through the mountains and across the valley children came out of the houses yelling, "Muzungu, Give me money." The only English they knew. Muzungu is what they call white people. Here in Guinea the kids yell, "Toubabu, BonJour." The only French they know.
Today I was called something new and will always remember it. I spent the morning shooting in Leferani a local village. The classic scenery of locals cooking, building hits and in just living kept me constantly behind the lens trying to capture every image. Our host for the day, made the comment that I was a Deaf, Mute because he hadn't heard me say anything. That struck me. A deaf mute. I've never been called that before, but I like it.
Just think ... a Deaf and Mute Storyteller.
Yeah, I like that.