Monday, October 13, 2008


In high school, or maybe it was college, I wrote down a list on my computer of all the different nicknames I had been given over the years. Almost none of them were the type of names people would use to regularly refer to me. They were simply momentary monikers that seemed to fit. Still, I got a kick out of them, so I started writing them down. Since that computer has long since disappeared - and the list along with it - I thought I would share some of them here for my own record and to hopefully share some laughs.

Mr. Connected - I got this one because I engineered club elections in high school for my friends. Think Rove, but on a much smaller level. I got a kick out of it towards the end, and actually elected a friend out of a field of six candidates just because he swore he'd shave his head if I did. He was a liar, but that goes right along with being a politician, I suppose.

The Human Heater - I have always emitted head from my body for as long as I can remember. I did not realize how useful a skill such a thing could be until a female friend started wrapping up around my arm to get warm in class. The funniest time came when she sat in my lap in class and the teacher just stared at us, unsure of what to do (since she knew we were just friends). I explained it was for warmth, and she let it go. (My wife finds this skill useful when we're living in colder climates than at present)

The White Wall/White Knight - The only time my coach was foolish enough to put me on a skins team in soccer, the other team called me that because I was still just as fearless about getting in their way, and because I had a serious farmer's tan (still do) - two brown arms and pasty white torso.

Tenille - I laughed at this one because I had actually never heard of the group, but one of my buddies who liked to be a contrarian gave it to me because I was captain of so many teams. He said, "I should just call you Tenille, you're captain of so many things already."

Little Old Man - a family friend and later teacher said to me, "Robert, you're just a little old man." I wrote a whole post about this one so I won't explain further.

Big Rob - I lived on a hall twice with multiple Roberts. The first time, I was just Robert because the other guy was "Big Rob" but the second time there were four Roberts (technically, anyway, since one was Roberto). Rob (who hated being Little Rob so people only called him that when he wasn't around), The Hungarian Hammer (because he was from Hungary), Big Rob (me because I dwarfed the other three), and Roberto. It came in handy when people wanted to yell explicatives in my direction. Not sure it ever got used otherwise.

RobRob - Amazingly, no one picked up on this obvious nickname until I did in creating my first email address. Then it stuck and many friends still use it.

Brotha Bob - As Bill Cosby would say, "I told you that story so I could tell you this one." I enjoy my other nicknames for their anecdotes, but this one is probably the funniest and most used (besides Robrob). It came about like this:

At the beginning of my Masters program, we were given an impromptu assignment to think of three funny things about ourselves. I was stumped until I thought of three things I thought were funny considering I had done them and yet I was still back in school. About ten seconds after I handed them in, I realized I sounded like a total snob for writing them and had to give a lot of explanation to that effect when they were read to the group.

Later that night at a class dinner, I thought of two much funnier things to share, and I told the people I was sitting with. First, I told them I had a suit that whenever I wore it, people wanted to know where I preached or what church I was the minister of, so I call it my preacher's suit. Second, I told them I never liked being called Bob because it was one letter short of boob.

Without skipping a beat, one of my classmates (who I still think is a great guy) said, "Well I think you just named yourself."

I asked what the name was. and he said, "Brotha Bob!"

After that, whenever I would raise my hand in class, he'd yell out "Lay some wisdom on us, Brotha Bob!" or something along those lines. It was a great nickname and I still get a kick out of it. I had gotten over being called Bob (and told them as much) by that point in my life because so many friends knew I hated it and forced it on me in a joking way, but that is the only way I've actually enjoyed being called Bob.

-- Robert

P.S. There were more names - something like twenty - that were on that old list, but they (like so many memories) are lost to the ages (or at least too boring to share).


Natasha said...

Wow. I've never had that many nick names. Brotha Bob is a good one. Boob, not so much. ;-) Like "Nat" being one letter away from a bug.

I laughed at the liar who didn't shave his head being just another politician.

Robert said...

Yeah, he was even a turncoat in the end: he told all of his friends he was never their friend at the end of high school because he "knew" he would be a famous director and didn't want to be bothered with the hangers-on.

And yeah, Brotha Bob is a fun one.

Keep on Dancing... said...

Reading this post just made me realize that I too have a lot of nicknames to many different people. I never really thought about it before. Maybe we both do because we have fairly common names. No matter where I go, there are MANY other Sara's. I guess people easily find distinctions for us.

Many of mine started in highschool/college and still stick to this day.

It's also funny when other people hear them. Since I was about 8 my brother has called me "Hammer" (no idea why). And now, 20 years later, we both work for the same company. I'll never forget trying to act professional and hearing him yell Hammer across the office. About 20 heads turned. It was funny.

Robert said...

My name is so common, there were three people who had my same first and last name at my first college, and eight at my second.

I got a lot of them because people just found it amusing to label me, I suppose, and because attempts to make fun of my actual name came out sounding stupid.