Sam is a Dog’s Name

I’ve been cracking up at this because I can strangely relate to it as an introvert, and I’ve always adored Chris’s unending energy and positive attitude πŸ˜‚

My father was a tradesman most of his life. And a mechanic for the greater portion of that. When I was little, he had a buddy at work named Barney. In his limited repertoire of things he remembers about my childhood, my dad still likes to tell the story of when I once loudly announced to the entire shop that “Barney is a dog’s name!”…little did I realize.

Your family’s raggedy, bug eyed and much beloved 27 year old cat that you just buried. Most likely, Sam. Your big fat Golden who’s elevator doesn’t quite go to the top and likes to roll in mud puddles and eat garbage. Probably also Sam. Oh, and that old man in town that everyone only remembers because of his quietly meticulous holiday yard displays. Definitely, Sam. Sam is the male dog equivalent of Maggie. And the people equivalent to Snowball or Mittens.

I laugh at the bit in Parks and Rec where the local perfume guru has downgraded his name from Dante Fiero to Dennis Feinstein because that was actually considered more exotic in Indiana.

So I wonder, as free-range, East Coast 80’s Catholic kids…could my brother and I have just as easily been Caesar and Antonio? Still sons of the angry bluecollar who would fight you for a parking space, but now, kids otherwise destined to be forever tan, happy and own our own jets? I don’t know the answer. But I know we would have had way nicer shoes. And probably would have eaten a lot less mac and cheese.

But when I look at it, though I may have wished for a lot back then, I never needed for a thing. As children, it’s easy to feel you’re being shorted. To want more. To want everything. And to want it now. We want to stand out by fitting in. Curious. Then as adults, we get that ‘more’. We get that ‘everything’ that we thought we wanted because our parents are no longer keeping that gate. And we still feel shorted. But now instead, we sit ensconced in the circular thought of having it all, once and for all. And in feeling less than if we aren’t flashy or impressive enough. If we aren’t, now, standing out. Or if we are standing out only because we don’t seem fit in.

In my life, I know I’ve never truly fit in. I’m not sure I was ever happy in my skin growing up. And I’m not sure I’ll ever forget what I didn’t have. But, I don’t think I would change a thing. Because it’s taught me how to value where I’ve been and what I did have. And to appreciate the value in who I am without feeling like I have to compete.

So…my name’s a little plain. So am I these days. And damn happy to be. I can stand out in my own ways. The ways I choose. Not by precepts of a sterotypical male standard. I never did get that scooter I wanted as a kid, and I may lack flash. But I wouldn’t change a thing.


Enjoy your Thanksgiving, Friends. It’s not my most ‘favoritist holiday anymore so we will be hibernating for a while watching Christmas movies and assembling MASS amounts of Legos from the good people at Amazon! πŸ€—

16 thoughts on “Sam is a Dog’s Name

  1. I feel you Sam. I agree about worth. I grew up smilarly and have tried to pass that value system on to my sons. No easy task the way their friends were being raised. 😏

    1. I often wonder if my parents had had the means, if they still would have been withholding in the material sense. Apart from true needs. I’m seeing lately where I’ve made mistakes in material for my girls…at least my little one. I looked at it as being able to provide comforts for her that I probably don’t feel like I had when I was little. You try to make up for those things cause you want them to feel ‘normal’. I fear it’s been too much, as the deprogramming is proving difficult. I’m trying to be better going forward but it’s hard not to still see it through the lens of my eyes as a child….😣😣😣

  2. Oddly enough, raising my first three sons basically alobe, since my ex worked all the time and was rather a slug in that sense, then being alone with them when we split for a long while, I taught them to accept and appreciate what we could have. My youngest son who was raised with them but by my second husband and myself proved more challenging. We were both older, he always wanted him to be happy and defied me in bringing him home little gifts all the time in spite of me saying he was teaching him to expect rather than appreciate them. He finally quit when. After arriving home late from work one evening, our son asked him quite expectantly what he had brought for him. When my husband said nothing he was very disappointed. That did it for his Dad..finally. πŸ™„But it set the stage for him to be more disappointed than his brothers with those times he couldn’t have what he wanted right when he wanted it, on into high school and his career. We really do have so much influence on our young ones’ attitudes and expectations in life. I wish you well. Stay strong.

    1. And I think this is whats happening in the difference between my oldest and youngest. I always laugh at the quote in Roseanne that was something like “I don’t know why they’re so selfish! It’s not like we ever gave them anything!” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ My oldest got the short end of the stick ages ago when everything was a struggle in our family and she’s proved far more outwardly grateful. But…these days I do spoil my youngest. And though she does well with disappointment and is grateful, she’s learned from me to expect ‘things’ as well. I know I could be making way worse mistakes but this one was my fault for sure. Making up for guilt and for everything she’s come through. I’m trying to be better about it, I swears!

      1. You’re trying to do what’s right and that’s what they will both appreciate. πŸ‘πŸ»

  3. Sam may be your name, but there is nothing plain about it, or you. I’m so glad we became friends, and appreciate your beautiful insights into life, and parenting, and love, more than you can ever know.

    Happy Hibernating! Sending much love to you and yours.

    1. Hibernating successful! I’m adapting to Christmas shopping online now that dumb ‘ol Toys r Us is closed! Well guess what, Geoffrey!? The internet doesn’t close at 10pm!

      We saw Wreck it Ralph which stunk. We saw Grinch a few weeks ago which stunk. And we saw Nutcracker which was beautiful but strangely had an original score…which included no music from the Nutcracker. I’m extremely picky about my movies, don’t these people know this by now.

      But more to the point! (I get there eventually) Thank you so much for these kind words, Allison! I can’t wait to catch up on your posts to see what you guys have been up to. I am glad we became friends as well and that we are always able to root for one anothers bitchfests! As my dad would say, “oh, bitch. bitch. bitch.” That’s about the extent of the validation! I’m making light of it but it’s actually such a valuable thing to be able to vent without judgment sometimes! Being constructive 24/7 is for the birds! Damn birds! ADD in full effect right now, it’s conference week! 😣😣😣

  4. There’s only one Sam who writes a blog like this, and I’m glad for that.

    1. Thank you, friend!!! πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—

  5. (That was a compliment, by the way!!)

  6. Soulfully shared. It struck a chord, one which I wish any other people would honestly acknowledge. Your authentic writing is worthy of reading and reflection.

    1. Thank you for these kind words, Eric!

  7. Sam, you are a treasure. And I love your name! To me it’s an embodiment of kindness, honesty, truthtelling and sweetness wrapped up into an amazing human that I’m grateful to know through blogging!
    As for the kids etc. part of your post, I understand as my kids when I was married had a great life with few disappointments. Now we are in a place less financially stable and so it’s the simpler things in life that are appreciated (even though they do long for those days when things were different). But such is life and we roll with it. I think it makes them better people and more grateful…and honestly, more connected with people instead of things…great post!

    1. Janie! 😭😭😭 How sweet! I haven’t been on in a while and missed your kind words! Thank you so much for the encouragement at the end of what was a tough week!

      Yes! I really feel I’m paying the price for spoiling my little one slash doing things we couldn’t do for her sister back in the day. It’s such a hard balance because she’s so generous and (usually) grateful…but at the same hand hasn’t learned how to go without. I think we make up for our own childhoods a lot, so…I’m consciously working on it (sort of) 😒 Thank you for understanding!

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