July 7, 2011

Life as a Robbie Part I

It's not always easy being a Robbie. It is easier than being a boy named Courtney or having a 4-syllable Indian name, but it still has its moments even dealing with adults.

It began simple enough. With my birth name being Robert, that seemed a little too mature or formal for a toddler or a kid on the playground. So like thousands or millions (or possibly billions) of others, my parents called me Robbie as a child. Then, it's up to the child to address his name crisis later in life.

"Robbie" suited me well in elementary school. Anyone who went by Robert or Rob was just weird and boring. But then in sixth grade, it would be the first of many times to come that I'd reassess my life. In the Colorado public education system, seventh grade begins junior high (apparently called "middle school" everywhere else in the nation). A new chapter in life seemed like the perfect time to test out a new name that was "cooler" than Robbie.

I liked the name Ryan, but my elementary school already had two Ryans. I thought if my name was Ryan, I'd also take on their personalities and be more popular and cool. But that name change would take too much explaining. Later I'd learn it wouldn't stop one of my seventh grade classmates from changing her name from Rachel to Lisa on the first day of role-call with no explanation. After the teacher asked for a Kim Greene, she responded with a deadpan gaze and bellowed, "It's Lisa."

I also liked the name Dion, but since I wasn't a football player and my last name wasn't Sanders, it didn't work. I do like how it rhymes with neon - some of my favorite color types.

The closest new nickname change to stick without using rubber cement was RC. I thought it was bold. It was edgy. It was short. It was my initials (far more than I could say for Dion and Ryan) and it was a darn good cola.

On the first day of seventh grade, I realized quickly that the name change wouldn't work, or it would just be awkward like Lisa Kim Greene's. My friends I had made through elementary school all came to school that day and had greetings like, "Hey, Robbie!" My teachers' attendance sheets also had Robert on them, and going by Robbie was a much easier adjustment than Dion. Even if I really wanted to take the leap of faith to Dion, Lisa/Kim beat me to the name-change punch. And I bruise easily.

To be continued...


  1. Please don't tell me this is a set up to Part 2 where you announce your official name change. I refuse to call you Dion.

  2. You'll just have to stay tuned ;)