Green Eggs & No Ham?

Green Eggs and HamHappy Friday, y’all!

Recently I’ve been asked a few times what the heck is up with my chosen URL name (greeneggsnohamforsam). So I thought I’d let you into my world a little more, and explain why I chose such a kitschy name. First things first, my name is Sam. But you already knew that. I hope…

And I’m sure the class is familiar with the reference to the green eggs and ham. As in Dr. Seuss’ best-selling children’s book Green Eggs and Ham. And the main character in that happens to be named Sam-I-Am – see how everything just comes together?

But the real question I get asked is: why did I include the no ham part in my URL name? Because I’m a maverick, damn it, and I do as I please.

No, but seriously, the “no ham” goes back to my upbringing and the influence of my parents.

My parents are a fairly unique couple – my mom is Filipino and Irish (mostly Filipino) and my dad is Indian (he grew up in Fiji but came here with his family during his teen years). They met when my mom was 17 and my dad was 19, dated for a straight seven years, and then my dad proposed, they had two weddings (I’ll be lucky if I get one!), and the rest, as they say, is history.

Actually, the whole two wedding scenario has a lot to do with the “no ham” part of my story. Just about everyone on my mom’s side of the family is Catholic, while my dad’s side of the family is comprised of both Muslims and Hindus (my dad’s mom who is Muslim married my grandfather who practiced Hinduism – this is quite taboo amongst their generation, but like I said, we are a family of mavericks, we do what we want. We go against the grain. Stare into the barrel of the gun. Pee into the wind. Okay, no – we’re daring, not stupid).

So my parents had an Indian wedding, and a week later, they had a Catholic wedding. But when my mom found out she was pregnant with me, my parents had to discuss how they wanted to raise their first – and best – born. (Nikki, if you ever read this, I’m totally kidding!)

They settled on a compromise. Because isn’t that what marriage and relationships in general are about – a constant give and take. The question was how to meld the religions that coexisted throughout our family, and how to do this in the least offensive way. You know, it goes back to that dinner table principle – avoid politics and religious topics at all costs; better to stick with the things you read in the lifestyle and arts and leisure section of the paper.

Now because my dad is not a very religious person – he believes in the mantra of striving to be a good person all around, and a belief in God or any deity is not going to define you as a “good” person – he was not pushing for his first daughter to be raised under the teachings of Hinduism. That being said, my mom – while not an overly religious person either – did want me baptized Catholic. So they did what any old-fashioned Filipino and Indian couple would do: they successfully combined baptism and dietary restrictions. While this did not give way to the creation of Chemical X or anything of the sort, I still turned out okay. And in time, my parents forgave me for not becoming the fourth member of the Powerpuff Girls.

In all seriousness though, when I was born, my parents gave me a Catholic baptism – godparents, the church, and the rest of the nine yards, but in return, they raised me (and once my little sister came along) in a house where we never ate beef or pork (or red meat in general) in order to have some elements of Islam and Hinduism in my upbringing. And to this day, I have never had beef or pork of any kind. I tell people this story, and some are simply aghast at the fact that I’ve never had a “real” burger or “real” bacon. But the thing is, because I’ve never had it, I don’t miss it. And I don’t crave it. And even if I did, I’m such an OCD health freak that I probably wouldn’t eat that cheeseburger anyway. To be honest, I’m not sure I will ever incorporate red meat into my diet. From the documentaries I’ve seen and the articles I’ve read, we really don’t need it. If anything, science says it’s actually a detriment to our health. But more than that, I love my family and my background and where I’ve come from. And I admire the way my parents raised me and my sister. I think that’s the real reason I will always say “no” to the ham or any other red meat – because of my family. I respect the many religions and beliefs that exist in my family, and I actually think the compromise my parents came up with is rather unique. Religion in general has never been a dominating force in my family – both of my parents did not raise me on religious values, but simply the ideals that it takes to be a kind-hearted human being. You know, sugar, spice, and everything nice.

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