Living Up To My Hero’s Name

In this week's Whoopie Pies and Yankees column on The Good Men Project, I talk about the importance of living up to a name, and how proud I am to be named after my Dad.I’ve been trying very hard lately, Modern Philosophers, to change the way I approach life.

Someone I love very much had pointed out that I have a tendency to be a grumpy old man.

I’m not sure why I’ve so easily slipped into the persona of my least favorite of Snow White’s Dwarfs, but being called out on it by the person whose opinion matters the most to me, made me realize that something needed to be done.


Someone else I love very much is my Dad.  I’m so proud that I’m named after my father, and I’ve always aspired to be like him.

My Dad was the easiest going person I’ve ever met.  He was always smiling, putting people at ease, and could make a complete stranger feel like he was his best friend.  My Dad never raised his voice, was incredibly patient with a curious son who was forever asking annoying questions, and always supported me.

Growing up, I couldn’t wait to have kids of my own because I wanted to be the kind of father to them that my Dad was to me.  To this day, I still long to be a father simply so that I could pass on my father’s legacy to a new generation and keep his name alive.

Although, to my chagrin, I’ve had a lot of push back from the women in my life about ever naming my son Austin.

For some reason, they have a serious issue with hanging the albatross of “the third” around the little guy’s neck.  I don’t get what the big deal is.  I’ve been a “Junior” for most of my life, and it’s never been an issue.

Everybody loves a sharp dressed man.  And a dorky kid in a football helmet!But I digress, Modern Philosophers.  Time to rein myself in for the good of this post and your patience.

The point that I wanted to make is that it’s always been my goal to live up to my Dad’s name and make him proud.

With that in mind, I don’t understand how I’ve turned into a grumpy, negative, let’s just be frank…prick.

This version of me that skulks around The House on the Hill, hiding out from the world, and scaring away the people I love, in no way resembles Big Austin, the man I say I’ve chosen to emulate.

So what the hell is going on here?  How did I fall down this rabbit hole of doom and gloom?  Why do I put on an ugly mask and hide my true self when I finally step out from my fortress to face the world?

I’m desperately seeking the answers to these questions, and I can confidently say that I have made some progress.  I can definitely sense a change not only in me, but also in the way that people react to me.

Not as many people run for cover when they see me coming, and that really has helped me in my quest to become the man that I know is trapped inside and really wants to get out and enjoy life.

Big Austin and Little Austin | The Return of the Modern Philosopher I’ve let down my Dad by turning into someone who frightens away love rather than welcoming it with open arms.

I really am trying, Modern Philosophers.  Please be patient with me.  I’m on a Hero’s Journey to live my life more like my hero.

I know my Dad would still love me if he were around to see the man I’ve become, but I’m upset I haven’t become more like him.

The idea of living up to a name inspired this week’s column on The Good Men Project.  It was also helped along by my epic struggle to come up with a name for the column.  Maybe my failure with names means it’s a good thing I haven’t had any children yet.

You can check out this week’s column on The Good Men Project by clicking on the link below.  For the record, I named the column Whoopie Pies & Yankees!

What’s In A Name?

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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18 Responses to Living Up To My Hero’s Name

  1. It is incredibly easy to fall into the grumpy, negative sphere, and even easier to let it spiral once you’re in it. OK, once I’m in it, but we’re not talking about me. Congratulations on trying to change yourself for the better, or rather to let the better part of you see the light of day more often. Incidentally, what’s wrong with Austin III? I would think it would be cool to be a III. Then you could have the nickname Trip or Trey (I’ve known one of each of those). It’s no fair girls are never III’s! Oh wait, I’m not named after anybody. Never mind.

    • Austin says:

      I think Austin would be a great name for my son. Just need to convince someone else to think the same way. And also convince someone to have my baby. No wonder why I’m grumpy!!! 🙂

  2. Wow. I totally don’t see that in you. It’s weird isn’t it? What we perceive ourselves to be and what others see. But what I DO know about you is, when you DO post a non-satirical piece, there is nothing to back this post up. It’s also weird I felt compelled to reach out to you tonight having not read this first. You know I still read your stuff. Even since the first “How do I?” You’re going places – AND … If one of those places is ‘dad’ – you will excel. Also, no, my sweet friend, you have NOT let him down. AT ALL!!!!!

  3. Austin, I’ve been following you for years and have always admired your extremely creative ways of communicating and keeping the interest of your readers. Austin is a very groovy name, and if the future mother of your child has an issue with that, she’s not the one for you. Besides, you can always do what Phoebe Buffay’s brother Frank did on “Friends,” and name your child Austin Junior Junior. I’ll admit I found you grumpy at times when we first became blogging friends, but despite what you think about yourself, I think you’ve given “the grumpies” a one-way kick out of The House on the Hill. And, who wouldn’t be proud of a son who is an incredibly talented and prolific blogger, and joke writer. How about putting all those deep thoughts together into a book? Your father may be your hero, but you’re probably a hero to many and don’t even realize it. All those who think Austin is a hero, please let him know!!

  4. The Hook says:

    There are no words, Austin…
    You’re a good man.

  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The very fact that you’re willing to be introspective, and look internally for happiness rather than blaming other people, or thinking other people or things can MAKE you happy (be happy or else!), bodes very well for you.

  6. claidig says:

    This is quite a brave post; it takes quite a lot of courage to look at yourself and those sorts of questions – for that, methinks you should really be commending yourself 🙂

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