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Call me Robert
TL;DR: I'm asking people to go from calling me Bobby to Robert.
For the last 10 or so years, I've maintained a nickname for myself that I didn't quite choose. Xkcd, a popular nerd comic, released a 4-panel cartoon depicting a mother who receives a call from her son's school. The school mentions that her child's name, Robert'); DROP TABLE STUDENTS; --, has caused a database to be erased. Knowing full well what her son's name does to databases, the mom snidely responds, "And I hope you've learned to sanitize your database inputs."
Being a nerd named Robert, this comic naturally found itself in my life. Folks started calling me Bobby Tables, and being the person I am, I accepted it. I even introduced myself as Bobby for several years. At this point, nearly my entire professional network knows me as Bobby. I had matched my social media usernames to the new nickname of Bobby Tables and even my personal domain that you're reading this on (however, I'm looking for an alternative).
However, “Bobby” never really resonated with me. I never felt like a Bobby. I enjoyed the joke; what nerd wouldn't? But I always felt a lot different, even relieved, when people referred to me as Robert, especially the last year. I even began to believe that my late mother would be absolutely livid if she knew I went by Bobby. After all, she named me after her best friend and professional ice skater, Robert Wagenhoffer. After visiting my family for this last Christmas (a rarity) and was only called Robert, I knew I needed to make an oddly difficult decision public: I'd prefer to be named Robert by everyone.
Believe me, I don't relish asking everyone to suddenly change how I'd like to be addressed. I feel as if I'm asking hundreds of people to change a habit that only benefits me. I recognize those of you who have only known me as Bobby will almost inevitably call me that accidentally for possibly the rest of our lives. My only ask is that you try, and I promise to never get upset. I'm well aware it will be a challenge, especially for those of you who are particularly close to me.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. I'll likely keep the online moniker of Bobby Tables; it's too fun to have that username for everything (GitHub, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) at this point.