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! 🤗