Archive for February, 2013

The Importance of Being Bob

February 27, 2013 2 comments

I am named after my father, thus making me a junior. I’ve met many other “juniors” over the years, it’s like a secret club, and we can always tell each other apart in a crowd. Something about the slumped shoulders of one bearing the weight of succession. But given the fact that I share a name (first, middle, and last) with my father, a problem arises. This problem is one that only plagues those in my particular predicament: How do you address individual people who share a name in a way that lets them know you’re speaking specifically to them?

And so, rather than refer to me as “Junior” like Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, my parents instead chose to call me Rob (and variations of it such as Robby, by which I was known for much of my childhood) and my father? He stuck with Bob. There’s something about the name Bob that makes me think of strength and character, but that may be a product of my upbringing.

As I’ve aged, I’ve gone from “Robby” to “Rob” or “Robert” in professional situations. Every so often, someone will call me Bob and I correct them.

“No.” I’ll say, “No, call me Rob. Bob is my father.”

This is in equal parts a declaration of respect for my father and an expression of the strange sense of fear that I could never live up to the name. For years, I’ve done this. I live in a small town now, much smaller than I ever did growing up, and while I have lived here only a few years short of a decade, it still seems like a foreign concept to me. This whole “everyone knows everyone else” business seems shady, at best, but I accept it.

The local supermarket employs high school students looking to make extra money and elderly men and women looking for a way out of the humdrum boredom of retirement. When I shop there, the students refer to me as sir, which I at first detested, but now feel a misplaced honor upon hearing it. The elderly women all call me Bob. I’ve corrected them many times.

“Please, call me Rob. Or Robert, a lot of people know me as Robert.” I’ve said to them. “It’s on my name tag at work.”

They smile and nod and when I next find myself checking out at this tiny corner market, the elderly women ask Bob how he’s doing and whether I’m walking and how about that cold bit of weather we’ve had lately, and I still take a moment to process that they’re speaking to me and not someone else named Bob standing behind me. Once that moment passes, I sigh and once again state that no, my name is not Bob, but I’m doing well and yes, I am walking and yes, that weather was mighty cold the other day. I do all of this, I swipe my debit card, and I take my leave.

The other day, as I was paying for my cereal and milk, my bread and butter, the silver haired and bespectacled woman behind the checkout counter once again addressed me as Bob.

“How are you today, Bob?” she asked.

“I’m good.” I said, “Let me ask you something.”

She stopped scanning groceries.

“Let me first say that I’m not angry or annoyed, just curious.” I said. She furrowed her brow. “That said, why is it, when I’ve said repeatedly to call me Rob or Robert, do you insist on calling me Bob? Again, I’m just curious.”

She thought for a moment, scanned the eggs, the bagels, the shampoo. Then she spoke.

“I guess it just suits you better than Rob or Robert.”

I was silent. She finished ringing up the remaining items, I swiped my debit card and completed the purchase, all while the teenager in the pimply face and baggy pants put my newly bought foodstuffs into their bags. It was one of those moments, a brief pause in time during which one reflects on life and their place in it, the way they are seen by others and, maybe more importantly, the way they see themselves. Was I that person? Did I deserve the name, the title, of Bob? Did I have the strength and character and strong will to pull off the task and yes even burden of such a title? These are all questions I silently asked myself while the acne-laced young man to my immediate right finished bagging my groceries.

“But if it means that much to you, I can call you Robert.” she said with a smile, which I gladly mirrored to her.

“No.” I said, “That’s fine.”

To my friends, family and co-workers, I will continue to be Rob or Robert. I ask this of them. But for the sake of the elderly employees at the local supermarket, I think I’ll cease my fight against the name Bob. I’ll try to embrace it, I’ll try to let it slide. For them.

But if you see me on the street or you call me on the phone, you’re better off calling me Rob. Or Robert.

Or Sir.

If, for some reason, you’d like to listen to what I’ve spent the better part of the last hour listening to, here:

Categories: 2013, Personal, Thoughts


February 9, 2013 4 comments

Well, it’s 2013 and we’re all still here. The planet, I mean. Nothing happened, no explosions, no asteroids, no John Cusack in a limo. Nothing. Fucking Mayans.

I realize, what with it being February, that it’s a bit late for me to be making 2012 Apocalypse jokes, but I really don’t care.

Not much has changed since the apocalypse. I am still an ex-Californian living in Minnesota, Justin Bieber remains Canada’s number one export of douchebaggery (sorry, Celine Dion), chimichangas are still great.

That’s not entirely true, some stuff has changed. Like, did you know J.J. Abrams is going to direct Star Wars: Episode VII? Did you even know there was going to be a Star Wars: Episode VII? Of course you did. That’s old news now. But since I haven’t updated this blog since well before both of those tasty tidbits of information floated down the intertubes, I felt a need to post about them.

There. I’ve posted about them. Now we can move on to bigger and better thi- Oh, who the hell am I kidding.

J.J. Abrams is responsible for two of my favorite TV shows in recent memory, LOST and Fringe, and when speaking of the imaginary “line in the sand” in regards to people who enjoyed his 2009 Star Trek reboot and people who felt insulted by it, I’m on the side of those who thought it was a fun movie. So, all things considered, I have faith in Abrams and I’m looking forward to what he does with the first Star Wars film in almost eight years.

Did I mention Lucasfilm has been sold to Disney? Yeah, Lucasfilm has been sold to Disney. You probably already heard all about that, too.

I’ve already read long winded posts and status updates about how J.J. Abrams is both the best and worst man for the job (but mostly just a lot of lens flare jokes. a lot of them.), but what it boils down to is this simple fact: Fans of the Star Wars franchise just want a good movie. For the most part, no one cares who is directing it, who is writing it, or who is in it. So long as it’s good. There will be a lot of people who will, upon reading that at face value, disagree with it. Loudly and in caps lock. But if they truly think about it, they’ll see what I mean.

The director of any Star Wars film need not be a famous name or someone with a specific style, but rather a person who loves the franchise as much as we do. The person writing it, the same. The people who appear in it, if not playing previously established characters, need only dive into the depths of those characters.

Now in the case of the two standalone films recently announced by Disney, one focusing on the adventures of a young Han Solo (how young, though?) and the other focusing on the rise of Boba Fett to his place as one of the most feared bounty hunters in the universe, things get tricky. Obviously Harrison Ford can no longer play the spry and dapper Solo he once could. So, who? Who, then, could step into the boots of everyone’s favorite intergalactic smuggler? The Huffington Post has some ideas.

Now, that list ranges from a bunch of actors I’ve never heard of, to a few who might be right (I can see Garrett Hedlund, or Taylor Kitsch, even one of the Hemsworth brothers or Zachary “Chuck” Levi), to a few who would be completely wrong (Zac Efron? Shia LaBeouf? Shudder…). But it’s all speculation at this point. There are no scripts, no directors, nothing but the notion of “Hey, let’s make a couple of movies about Han Solo and Boba Fett! People love Han Solo and Boba Fett, right? What could possibly go wrong?!”

I reserve my judgment on most of this until the movies actually come out.

Well, at least I’ll try to reserve my judgment.

Depeche Mode have a new album, Delta Machine, coming out March 26th. But the first single, entitled Heaven, is already available. Here’s the video:

I love it. It reminds me a lot of something you’d hear on Black Celebration, which is one of my favorite albums, and that’s probably why I dig it so much. If the rest of this new album is anywhere near this first single in tone and content, it’ll be fantastic.

Depeche Mode are currently on their World Tour, the North American dates for which I hope they will be announcing soon. If you can’t already tell, I’m pretty excited about this and would love to see them live.

As our friends and family to the East recover from Winter Storm Nemo, it seems we here in the MidWest have our own storm to deal with: Winter Storm Orko (Nemo? Orko? Whoever names these storms is a huge fan of Saturday morning cartoons).

See that line between the gray and the pink? That little white line that’s crossing the South Dakota border and entering the state of Minnesota? Yeah, we’re in there. So it seems we’ll get some snow in, well, about a day or two. Exactly how much, it’s hard to tell, but people are preparing around here. Rushing to the store to get their essentials in preparation of being snowed in for a couple of days.

Not unlike this:

We’re fine, for now. If I look outside my window on Monday morning and find over two feet of snow, I will be less fine. Well, no, I’ll still be fine. Just a bit more angry.

Taxes are done, chimichangas have been eaten, and it’s now time I go and clear some things off the ol’ DVR.

Be nice.