It took me a long time to name my blog because everything I chose did not work. They were either domains already taken or they just didn’t feel right at the moment. Absorbed in Thought, View from the Porch, Where are My Clothes? Each of these final three almost made it to the top, but I selected SpaghettiManWrites. (If you’re curious about the Clothes one, you’ll have to wait for a later blog posting.)
Now the story behind SpaghettiManWrites. The obvious connection is that it has something to do with being of Italian heritage. That’s partially correct, but there’s more. We all have a tendency to label people rather than try to know the person ___ now what label will you slap on me? Stop right there for a moment. Here are some personal observations to consider before you make your decision.
I am getting older, while my brain feels younger.
I’m an engineering person and a creative person. (Is that an oxymoron?)
I have had many failures that led to successes.
I believe Jesus is the Lord of my life, but there were times where I challenged that belief.
Went on a blind date only one time and met my wife who was a last minute substitute for someone who backed out. (Talk about a Lord that orders our steps!)
Whatever label may have crossed your mind will never fully characterize who I am as a person because it would take so many labels. That’s how the moniker SpaghettiMan was birthed. Someone tried to affix a single label on me that turned out to be wrong. It all began 12 time zones away, near the Mongolian border of Siberia. I was in Krasnoyarsk as a member of a team distributing New Testaments to schoolchildren.
Not able to speak Russian, I was assigned a translator named Anne, an English teacher at the city university. She told me her father was Jewish. She was married to an Armenian and had one child.
I told her I was married with three children. That my mother’s family and my father came from northern Italy. That’s when I first noticed the cool shift in her conversation. Had I said something wrong? Maybe she didn’t understand me.
Nevertheless, through our week-long stay, we learned to work well together. Our first presentations were shaky and laughable. I talked too fast. She didn’t understand American idioms. Yet we learned to respect each other. More important, I sensed she was being touched by the gospel message as she translated the team testimonies.
At our last evening together Anne felt the need to be honest about her initial dim view of me. She related how she even told her husband that, of all the American missionaries in Siberia, she ended up with a spaghetti man! (In case it’s not obvious that was an ethnic slur.)
It seemed that in this distant part of Russia, a spaghetti-man label applied to Italian men is associated with laziness, stupidity, and sitting around all day drinking Chianti wine. My first reaction was anger. It was not so much a personal hurt, but the fact that she ___ like others ___ make sweeping characterizations.
When Anne saw none of the labels applied to me or the enthusiastic mission team, she asked for forgiveness. That was a big step for her.
As it turns out, the spaghetti-man label is not unique to Siberia. One definition in the current Urban Dictionary indicates it is a very thin, tall and bendy man. (I am short, dough-boy like and cannot touch my toes.) Another definition is an Italian male who is a hit with the ladies due to his diet of spaghetti and olive oil. I cannot wrap my head around how a spaghetti and olive oil diet translates to being a hit with the ladies. The aroma of garlic, used in cooking, comes right through your pores. I guess some people like that earthy fragrance, and maybe somebody should consider incorporating it into cologne.
Given the peculiar definitions, why then stick with a blog name including the reference to Spaghetti Man? It’s simple. I want it to be a reminder to me and the readers that we are always more than a single word or a dismissive phrase or an ethnic slur.