Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It’s All in the Name

My friend has always remarked that his name sounded Chinese. I disagree, but it certainly must be a popular one. I googled “Sam Hall,” and 20,100,000 citations were listed. Most references, I think, are Nigerian, Russian, or Peruvian, well, maybe they’re English, Irish, or Scottish, not Chinese.

Many years ago, Sam was drafted and had to join the army. Though he’d already graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in music, he followed his country’s orders and traveled to Fort Ord, California, via Ontario.

Ontario, California, that is.

Wanting to be the best, most obedient soldier he was capable of being, given his deviant tendencies, Sam modeled exemplary behavior. A week into his duties and in his first formation, Sam joined other platoon members in the marching routine. Keeping rhythm, his posture was as straight as a pianists and he carried his rifle as carefully as he would his prized girlfriend.

During the march he heard someone shout, “Sam Hall!” Startled, he quickly stepped out of formation, not knowing what else to do, and kept walking alongside his platoon. “Yes, sir!” he said.

Discreetly, he glanced around for the lieutenant who would give Sam his next command. But when no instruction followed, he shook his head, presuming he’d heard incorrectly, and glided back into formation.

A couple minutes later, he again heard his name. “Sam Hall!” Thinking, it’s a good thing I’m on the outside of this block of men, or I’d disrupt the rest of the platoon, he jumped out of line, wondering if this time he’d hear the next order. When none came, he strode back into formation.

By the third “Sam Hall” and successive exit from his position, the soldier behind him incredulously asked, “What the hell are you doing?”

Exasperated, Sam said, “Someone keeps calling my name—Sam Hall.”

The guy shot back, “He’s not calling your name, you moron! He’s saying, ‘Stand tall.’”

copyright © 2009 by Auntie Eartha. All rights reserved.

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  1. Funny! I wonder why he thought his name sounds Chinese.

  2. Reminds me of the ethnic joke Bill Dana used to tell as the character Jose Jimenez...One day I went to the baseball park and it was very crowded. So I went to the very tippy top where I could get a good view. And these Americans are so polite, they all stood up and looked at me, and said " Jose, can you see?"


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