GEOFF OVERELL | Opinion | Contact

I was only nine when people started calling me Jeff.

For so long, I wondered why I’d drift off to sleep in class or in the playground at lunch. No matter how much sleep I got the night before, it made little difference.

So they called me Jeff.

It wasn’t until I was much older that a diagnosis of narcolepsy allowed me to understand and confront my problems. At last, I had a reason why I was the way I was. I was set free.

Regardless, they called me Jeff after the purple Wiggle, who kept falling asleep inappropriately and was the target of laughter and much ridiculed.

Though I tried to laugh along with them, tried to let the insults and name-calling slide off my back like pikelets off a spatula – I couldn’t.

What really hurt was that they, my teachers and bullies, began spelling my name like his, without the G and the O.  I was named after my father and the fact that my bullies and teachers disrespected that fact killed me inside.

Jeff The Purple Wiggle is responsible for a lot of pain in my childhood – and I’m not alone.

Thousands of juvenile narcoleptics just like me faced the same fate which is why in 2018, the purple Wiggle is problematic.

We are all Jeffs.

But as fate would have it, Jeff himself was diagnosed with a heart condition and mild narcolepsy.

A tragic twist in the curious case of me.

We need to move on as a society in the wake of this. We are better than this.

My name is Geoff.


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