Monday, June 02, 2008

What about Bob?

Folks, I must say... I'm a little hurt. As most of you know, Monday, May 26th, was "Bob Day"(a day to celebrate the ultimate OK guy), and yet, I didn't get a present, greeting card or phone call from any of you (Okay, my sister Sheila called, but she was three days late.)

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:

1. Emmett:

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?


Steve said...

May I be the first to wish you a happy Bob Day, and for many more to come!

Anonymous said...

You will ALWAYS be Bobby McDonough to me!!!!!

Susan Balogh Fluter- high school friend of Maureen's.

MotherOf3Guys said...

Happy Bob Day! I too had a teacher that insisted we go by "given" names only...never mind that no one ever called me by my "given" name. For that whole year in school, I was "Bettina"... (I don't even think of myself as that name.) Because all the family members called me by my shortened name, I quickly was again called by my nickname the next year in school and there after. I always hated the first day of school because the kids never remembered my "real" name and would make fun of it when they heard it in that first roll call. I vowed if I ever had kids, I wouldn't give them names that could be shortened. Well, I picked out the name "Heather" for a "girl" name when I was first pregnant, because I thought that was a good "NO NICKNAME" name... the joke was on me because I had 3 guys!...and all of their names can be shortened!!! Oh well, hope you enjoyed your BOB Day!!

Jeff said...

Throughout my years, I've come across a couple nicknames myself... I am legally "Jeffrey David" but i've been called Jeffrey, Jeff, Jeffy, Jeff-er-lee, Jay-doo, Yowzers, and Geoff (when written because my email confuses people).

What's more interesting is that i was NEVER called J.D. which i could've passed for. Either because no one noticed it, or that whenever someone DID call me J.D., i refused to answer.

I guess i'll change it up and call you Bob-erino.

Anonymous said...


"Bob Day"? Who made that one up, Hallmark? Happy Bob Day anyway!!


Anonymous said...

Funny thing about nicknames. I was born Sandra, but always was known as Sandi. (My mother started that crazy spelling with the I. She was a bobby-soxer, if that explains anything.) I grew up in the South where nearly everyone had a nickname...but it wasn't until I moved up North that I realized Sandi wasn't nearly a short enough nickname for you Yankees. No! Instead, I'm called "San." Hope you had a happy Bob Day in spite of it all.

Unknown said...

This is really funny. I've had the exact same thing going on with my name as well. I was always Tommy, yet have been called Tommy and Tom at any given point in my life. It wasn't until I started working in "the real world" that I introduced myself as "Tom", and it sort of stuck. I've regretted that move as well, and lately I've been gravitating back toward Tommy. I think my blogger post ID will still say Tom though...