Perspective: Meet My Mentor, Popeye The Sailor Man

Aug 30, 2019


“I yam what I yam.” 


My generation knows who said that.  


There were no apologies from Popeye, the sailor man. For how he looked or acted. For who he was. Always taking on the large, hulking bully. And winning, eventually, thanks to a quick snort of spinach that gave him super strength. 


Kind of weird, but as a kid I loved it. (The cartoon, not the spinach.) 


Funny that I often have turned to Popeye to defend who I am. More than once over the years I’ve shrugged and said, “Hey, I yam what I yam.” 


Sadly, we bump into our senior years before realizing we are measured by moments, not résumés. And what we do with those moments. All those choices we make. 

In the end, we are who we are — good and bad. 


Yes, we need to try and improve ourselves. And there are things we need to make right, with an apology or some penance. That’s the human condition. For many the key to heaven.  


Now, let me share a quote from Betty Smith in her book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. 

“Dear God, let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm.  


“Let me be hungry … have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well-dressed. Let me be sincere — be deceitful. 


“Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. 


“Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”  

Yeah, it’s good now and then to suck in a lungful of air, exhale slowly and understand that’s a miracle. 


And then say, “I yam what I yam.” 


I’m Lonny Cain … and that’s my Perspective.