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John Lamb, Published February 05 2011

Lamb: There’s still some Bam-Bam in me

If this column isn’t accompanying an obituary, particularly my own, then I made it!

That’s right. Lordy, lordy, look who’s 40.

I know, you’re thinking, “John Lamb, you can’t be 40. You act so … well, you don’t act your age.”

But it’s true. The gray hair is spreading, the bounce in my step is deflating, and while some nights I act like I’m 25, the next day I feel like I’m 105 with an extra helping of Alzheimer’s.

But those days are fewer and fewer. I’m more inclined to stay home on the weekends and cook and read and drink coffee. Kind of like my parents, except I don’t have to worry about what my knuckle-headed son is up to, on account of me not having kids and all.

Cooking? Reading? Coffee? Sound boring to you? Well, I am a connoisseur of leisure.

It wasn’t always this way. Hours after I was born, I was given a gift that set me on a path of action and adventure – a totally cool name.

When I was born, my sisters, three and five years older, vetoed the name my parents chose. They thought even as a newborn I looked more like a Bam-Bam, the cudgel-carrying strong-tot neighbor of the Flintstones.

My dad’s cousin John Kelly agreed with the girls and on the sign in the nursery window where it had previously said “baby boy Lamb” wrote “Bam-Bam Lamb.”

The name stuck for a while – at least until my parents saw it on my birth certificate. Apparently they thought it only a little odd that the nurse kept asking, “Are you sure this is name you want?” as she prepped the paperwork, looking at John Kelly’s writing.

In my parents’ defense, I’m sure it was less a matter of not examining the fine print and more a matter of being unable to turn away from the radiant child they would be blessed with, already wondering “He’s so loud. Is he ever going to move out?”

No matter. As soon as they realized their chosen name didn’t make the final cut, changes were made, and I was given the same name as so many of my father’s relatives, John Lamb.

Of course, as a child, I really was more of a Bam-Bam. My oldest sister tells her sons how Uncle John smashed all of his sisters’ favorite childhood possessions, apparently including smashing their hopes and dreams of a just world in which white men, no matter their age (I was 3), would pay for their actions.

As I got older, I maintained something of a mischievous and destructive streak, though I’m relieved to note the statute of limitations has passed in most cases.

Now I’m less inclined to bust stuff up, and Bam-Bam tends to give way to Nap-Nap.

Again, sound boring to you?

I would agree with you, if I didn’t think you are so wrong.

I may slow down, but I’m not ready for the big sleep.


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533