I go by the name Sam. I have always gone by the name Sam… except when I have to sign an official document. Then I am someone else, and it’s strange. I look like a Sam. I feel like a Sam. And as much as a name can identify you, I identify with Sam. And I’ve never met a Sam I didn’t like. We’re a quirky bunch with quick wits and creative tendencies. Yes, every single Sam I’ve met has been intriguing in some way, shape, or form. Even my roommate in high school, Sam Hernandez. People made fun of him, but I only think it was because they were jealous that he had a name as cool as Sam and they didn’t. But then I think about it, and if I had been born as a Sam, would I like the name as much?
Many people get called names they would rather not. And if you get a nickname like Bubba, Bertha, or Sweater Meat (yes, I knew this guy who called certain females this offensive nickname), then odds are the people calling you the nickname aren’t friends of yours. Friends tend to make up nicknames like Junior, or Darlin, names that don’t make you want to hit someone over the head (well, not usually anyway). But it’s rare that friends will make up a nickname that someone would actually name their child. So, you’re probably wondering since my friends didn’t nickname me, who did?
It was my mother, of all people. She wanted a boy, so she started calling me Sam the moment she knew she was pregnant. I was introduced in utero as Sam to anyone and everyone. And indeed, when I was born and they found out I was a boy (no one found out early in those days), no one was more overjoyed than my mother. However, she decided she wanted to name me something mildly Biblical (even though the name Samuel is Biblical, but don’t even get me started on that one)… BUT KEPT CALLING ME SAM. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Name the boy something else, but keep introducing him to others as your son Sam.
Which has always made certain parts of my life incredibly interesting. Take school, for instance. My official name (which absolutely no one uses except for one aunt, who just has to be different) always appeared on the class roll, so on the first day of school the teacher would be working hard to try and get the correct pronunciation when I would just interrupt her and say, “Uh, it’s Sam. I actually prefer Sam,” to which she would inevitably say, “But Sam is nothing like the name I have on the roll.” And I would explain it all over again, the thing about my mom wanting a boy, etc. After eight years of doing that, it was just so frustrating.
Yet, I have never thought about changing my official name. For starters, I actually like it. I think it’s a great name. It’s common, yet very unique at the same time. It looks good when I affix my signature on official documents. Heck, it even looks good on my checks. But I’m also very attached to Sam too, as you could see I would be. I mean, I get to be a real original (I have never met another person who has my exact same first name, even though they are out there somewhere), while still having a group of Sams that I still belong to and can take solace in.
They’re both me, and I could never see being anyone else. So, thanks mom. Kind of, anyway.