They Call Me Salmon

Written By: Dylan Murphy

This is the story of how getting a nickname from a story that never happened became the way I would live my life.

I originally was not going to write this blog. I was only going to do the introduction blog and then I was going to do a vlog for an audition I got coming up. But then I thought about the fact that it’s the beginning of the UpStream website so I had to tell the story of how getting a nickname from something that was completely made up became something that would change my outlook on life and is probably the best thing that ever happened to me.

It all started when I went to visit The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. I went to visit The Intrepid for my senior trip in high school. Rather than have a class that Friday, we went to The Intrepid. They attempted to have us do some kind of “school work” so we had to write about the things we saw in the museum but we just took pictures to write it out at the end or during the weekend, whenever it was due by, and just bullshitted the entire time. Later in the day, we were all sitting by some fighter jet and I went to the bathroom to go take a piss. Little did I know that the person I was going to the bathroom would not be the same person I was that returned.

When I came back, all of my friends started asking me “Yo Salmon what’s your plan after this?” “Yo salmon you wanna grab some beers and go to stay town?” “Salmon, you going back to Bay Ridge?” They said this all one on top of the other with both genuine curiosity and slight restraint from laughing, playing it off as if nothing is out of the ordinary. I was confused for a couple of reasons; first reason being I was the last person in my friend group that people based their night around. I wasn’t the guy that organized stuff or who had an opinion people cared about. I was there for the ride and this was a mutual understanding amongst everyone. The second reason was obvious, why am I being called “Salmon?” I never had a nickname up to that point in my life, and my last name is Murphy. It’s easy, I could have been Murph. My dad is a Murph. My uncle is a Murph. The three grades above me when I started high school all had kids named Murphy who were called Murph. I was the first Murphy who wasn’t a Murph. I mean I had been called things before in my life; asshole, fag, loser. I was once called for a period of time “Pequena Uno” which translates to “Small One” for my non-Spanish reading people. This, of course, was in reference to my penis and is actually quite clever when you factor that kids in 8th grade came up with that. When kids put their brains together it is amazing what can become of it.

So then I dare ask the question: “Why the fuck are you guys calling me ‘Salmon?’” My best friend Jon goes on tell the story of how I got the nickname Salmon and I could not believe what he would tell me.

Jon told me that I got the name because I went to Upstate New York with my dad to go salmon fishing. Now, this was the first red flag because I have never gone fishing just me and my dad. I love my dad but he is not in any an outdoorsman. If he doesn’t have a friend with a boat or he’s staying or eating at someone’s place no shot he’s going. Plus I don’t even know if you go to Upstate New York to go salmon fishing, I know Alaska for sure and Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt swear by Salmon Fishing in Yemen (insert punchline drum here). So we go fishing and we’re sitting in the boat for God knows how long and FINALLY….a salmon catches my bait. I’m ecstatic about it, screaming at the top of my lungs “Dad, I got one! I got a salmon!” very similar to how Squidward would yell it because according to my friends that is who I sound like. My father screams back with pride “Great Dyl, now reel it in.” And I try with all my strength, but because I am such a weak human being, the salmon then pulls me out of the boat and into the water. Oh yeah, my friend also added that once I am in the water, the salmon proceeds to have sex with me. This version of the story I like to refer to as the “Director’s Cut.”  

As speechless as I was to what I just heard, and as annoyed as I was when EVERYONE called me salmon for the ENTIRE summer before I went to college, I wasn’t that concerned because only one of my friends from my friend group was going to WVU with me and he tried his best to bring Salmon downstream with him but he couldn’t. My nickname was not Salmon my first year but instead was Dyldo. Me and two other kids Dillon (wrong spelling) when together became “The Dildos.” However, going into sophomore year, Salmon started picking up steam and my worst nightmare was coming true. My new friends were finding out about this dumbass nickname my friends from home gave me and it was soon to become my full-time nickname.

But then I had an epiphany. It was syllabus week and I was walking to my first class that Tuesday and arrived a little bit late because I was eating a sandwich with some friends (my fellow How I Met Your Mother fans should get this reference). This was actually a class I needed to do well in so I could get into my major so not the best start for your boy. The class draws to the end and the last thing the teacher does is hand out a quick survey to help her get to know her new students better. They were pretty basic questions: where are you from? Why are you interested in the Communication Studies Major? Favorite food? Shit like that. The last question on the survey was “If you could identify yourself with any animal as your spirit animal what would it be? Now I could have under other circumstances said a lion, or a bear, or an eagle. Stick to the set of badass animals and say how “I hunt after the things I want because I’m a doer” or some bullshit reasoning. But because I just ate this sandwich (I’m high, THERE! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW!) I was in a pretty creative and funny mood so I replied something along the lines of this. “I believe that my spirit animal is the Salmon because salmon go against the current and swim upstream when all the other fish are going downstream. They are not concerned what other fish are doing with their lives or where they are going. They are only focused on going where they want to go and that is a way I have always lived my life. I try not do something because it’s the popular thing or because everyone else is doing it, I try to make my own path and live my life the way I want to.”

About a week later, I got back that survey and on it was a response from the professor. She wrote, “This was by far the best spirit animal response I have ever read.” I wish she remembered that when I needed a B in that class and I got a C but that’s okay, I digress. From that moment on I have embraced the name Salmon as a term of endearment and when people say Salmon upon seeing me, there is a slight tone to their voice that tells me they are happy to see me. It also for a time was a good excuse when I would occasionally drunkenly act like a fool and not remember my actions. Then when approached about it I would simply reply, “I have no idea, Salmon was flopping around last night I couldn’t tell you what he did.” This excuse wore out very quickly among some people and has thus been rendered useless. But even more importantly, it is how I came up with the name UpStream Productions. So now I could potentially make a living off a company whose name came from a made up story used to bust my balls. Well folks, if that isn’t the American Dream I don’t know what is.

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