What’s in a Name?
If you call me that now and you’re not a close relative, know that I’m banging your head against a metal pole in my head. My closest friends now call me Sam, which I’m mildly aware might become irritating when I’m an uncle. The rest use Samra, my actual surname. In Arabic it means a dark or olive-skinned female, which to some may conjure images of a feminine and exotic woman, perhaps plowing the fertile crop fields of the Egyptian delta wearing a tight fitting traditional ‘galabeya’ and a scarf wrapped around her head. It’s quite possible that nearby farmers and other prying eyes admire her bosom from afar.
I’ll be honest with you; I would rather they didn’t and I’m not crazy about the whole idea. I have to admit though, it’s better than the increasingly common Omar or worse, my first and middle name combination, Omar Sharif, which immediately invokes competition with a far more handsome and charming Dr. Zhivago or Laurence of Arabia who lets face it, has captured the fantasy of many woman my mother’s age. I’m terrified of that idea. So I made a decision, rather than chasing away onlookers with a sickle or educating myself in the dauntingly difficult game of bridge, I would learn to love the name. And I did.