In 2019, I wrote a couple of columns about late night telephone debates with my gentleman friend over his use of the words piddling, dilly dallying and frittering. I really do try to avoid constant critiquing of his use of the English language but he knows me too well. He laughs it off and says, “You just can’t help yourself;” however, his most recent mispronunciation, when said aloud, is worse than hearing Rihanna’s fingernails scrape across a blackboard. The word? “Sammich!”
My friend falsely claims that “sammich” is a Southern version of the word “sandwich.” Well, maybe it is if you think St. Louis is part of the South! In an effort to be fair, I looked the word up and it’s most commonly used in the Midwest and on the East Coast. In other words, imagine a big, burly guy from New Jersey and voila! There’s your picture perfect “sammich” eater!
You will not see a member of the DAR at Café M. Bloomers ordering a “sammich.” Most likely you won’t see “Grimes County’s Best Dressed Businessman” for umpteen years ordering a “sammich” from Red Board Tavern & Table; however, he might order a sandwich. Born and raised in the South, never has anyone I’ve known – until now – refer to a sandwich as a “sammich!”
Why does it matter, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you why. Bad spreads faster than good. It doesn’t matter what it is - bad news, bad reviews or bad habits. Be honest, it’s easier to lead someone to sin than to Jesus. Bad vocabulary is contagious and corrupts the English language. I am a witness to this.
Years ago, a dear friend who was new to quilting inappropriately called a quilt block a square. (Where are the quilt police when you need them)? She passed it on to her sisters, who passed it on to their cousins, who passed it on to their friends. I know that sewing and quilting guru, Nancy Zieman, must be rolling over in her grave.
All it takes is for one person like my gentleman friend using “sammich” a little too freely in public, and another person picks it up, and another and so on, and so on, and the next thing you know, everyone in Grimes County will be ordering a “sammich!” And there, my friend, goes our regional identity – not to mention our couth.
In order to give some respectability to the “sammich,” some fool at the Urban Dictionary (which has absolutely no credibility with me) defined a “sammich” as a TYPE of sandwich.
And I quote: “However, it is not just any kind of sandwich. Any old schmuck can throw lunchmeat between two slices of bread and have a sandwich. But no. A ‘sammich’ is not just a sandwich, it is not just a meal. ‘Sammich’ is a term reserved for only the holiest and mightiest of all sandwiches. A ‘sammich’ is a true work of culinary art.”
Well, that’s debatable. And this nonsense was probably written by a 45-year-old man living in his elderly mother’s basement in Jersey, where they actually do have basements.
And my point is? A sandwich by any other name is NOT a “sammich!”
The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Connie Clements. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.
Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and an award-winning columnist.