I know what you're thinking... "He's really more of a 'Bobby' than a 'Bob'." but if truth be told... I go both ways (label-wise, that is).
I blame my identity crisis on two sources:
My parents, having already named their previous eight children, gave the awesome responsibiltiy of tagging child number nine (me), to Emmett, my oldest brother. For some reason, he took a liking to the name Robert and overruled all his younger sibling's more creative suggestions.
2. The nuns
At home and in my neighborhood, I was always called "Bobby," but in St. Lawrence Grammar School, nobody was allowed to use nicknames. There were no Billys, Kathys, Pattys or Bobbys; only Williams, Kathleens,Patricias and Roberts. This inhumane policy led my classmates to refer to me as "Robert"(a dreadful name) or the much more heinous "Rob." (No wonder I hated that school.) When I reached 9th grade, I went to public school. On the first day of class the teacher passed around a sign-in sheet, explaining that we were to write down the name we preferred to be called...even nicknames were fine.
"What freedom!" I thought.
I took out my #2 pencil and started to write "Bobby" but somewhere around the second "b" the graphite froze to the paper. I'm not sure what happened, but for some reason, I began to feel too mature to be called "Bobby" (such a youthful sounding name.) Sure, Bobby Kennedy pulled it off, but he was a great touch football player, and I was strictly second string. He also had the advantage of coming of age in the 1930's when children had all sorts of dopey names. When kids of my generation heard the name "Bobby," they immediately thought of the freckled, youngest boy in the Brady Clan.
Back to 9th grade; I finally lifted pencil from paper, leaving "Bob" in the designated box. Before I knew it, teachers, classmates, friends, girlfriends , were all calling me "Bob." It's amazing how the name steamrolled. Lately, I've been regretting that day. I'm not sure if it's middle age, but suddenly, I want to be "Bobby"again. I think Dr. Phil would say my regression to "Bobbyhood" is due to a Peter Pan Complex, and that I don't want to grow up. But then again, what does Dr. Phil know?
I was inspired to write this post today by a bird. I am somewhat of an amateur bird watcher, and this morning, for the first time, I spotted a "Bobwhite" by the side of the road. This got me to thinking...I wonder if nuns call these birds "Robertwhites?" and did they get any greeting cards on May 26th?