All the guys in sixth grade did it. Each and every Bobbie and Robbie did it. They all became Bob.
Robbie, I was told by some of the other boys was a girls name.
“Cool! I’m gonna be, Bob Dorn. I don’t have to have a girls name anymore.
It was exciting, it was a rite of passage to remove the “i” and the “e.” We all thought it was cool. Cool! And my Grandpa, my namesake’s nickname was Bob.
“Mike Acre?” the teacher would call out.
There was a pause.
There was a longer pause.
“Oh!” I realized. She was calling me. “Here.”
I never answered when my name was called and I kind of felt weird being called “Bob.” But I couldn’t go back to Robbie and within a week or so of being “Bob Dorn,” something happened that changed my life forever. And it is all because of Tracey Thayer.
Tracey was the daughter of one of my Dad’s best friends. She was two years older than me and I really looked up to her. For as long as I could remember, Tracey was like a big sister.
So here’s what happened.
I was walking up the hall this way and my buddy Tom Brian, previously known as Tommy, was coming down the hall towards me. Tracey was also walking down the hall towards me, several steps behind Tom. Everything’s normal. I’m on my way to my next class. Tom sees me and just like he had been doing for a week or so, in a very cool non-chalant way he simply says, “Hey Bob!”
Tracey heard it.
“Bob?” she started, “Bob?! Bob Dorn?!” She literally fell to the floor laughing. “Bob Dorn!! Oh my GOD that’s hysterical. Bob Dorn!!”
She just laughed and laughed laughed and it only took a moment, a split second to change my life forever. The B became an R and from that day forth I was Rob. Rob Dorn. That works! Thank you Tracey Thayer, thank you.
And who was I kidding? Bob Dorn… Bob Fred Dorn. I never was a Bob. Sorry Grandpa Walledom. I’m not a Bob, I’m a Rob.