28 Apr 2023
When we interact with people that are close to us, emotionally or physically, we have the potential to have a big impact on people’s lives in ways that we may not even imagine.
Back in high school some guy decided I had a “Bobby” face and started referring to me as such. For context, my real name is Francisco so there’s no way to make a connection to Bobby.
In time everyone in high school started calling me Bobby because they heard it from him. Some even did it because they knew I wasn’t very happy to be called something that was not my name.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that I should just leave things the way they were. Mexicans tend to be very, very mean with nicknames and, as far as nicknames go, Bobby was harmless. In order to avoid being assigned a new, meaner, nickname I started to go with the flow.
And here I am, a couple of decades later, and my website, email, every handle in every website is Bobby. My wife, my friends, my family, everyone calls me Bobby. Sometimes, even old acquaintances call me “Roberto” and are befuddled when they realize it isn’t my actual name.
That guy had a massive influence in my life. He renamed me, superseding my parents. The funny thing is that he didn’t stay very long in that high school. He was there for about 6 months and left. I can’t even remember his name but the impact of his joke is still with me and will stay with me till I die. I am not mad or anything like that, today the name Bobby feels like a larger part of my identity than even my name. When I remember how I came to be I chuckle and think that it’s very funny.
But at some level it also helps me be aware that even the smallest of things, a simple action or a casual remark, can have a huge, long lasting impact on somebody’s life. It helps me try to keep it positive. If they are not going to remember my name but remember what I do or say, what do I want that to be?
Keep it positive. Be kind to other people and remember what they did or said kindly. Sometimes we do not understand the power we have. Wield it wisely.