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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Benny



People started calling me Benny in grade school. I refused the name simply because it's not part of my first name and is simply a derivation from my last name. However, I eventually relented since everybody started calling me Benny even without my approval. It reached to a point that they called me Benny the Ball (of Top Cat fame) and Benny the Bull (not only of the Chicago Bulls mascot, but also of Nelson Asaytono, the high-scoring power forward of the San Miguel Beermen in the PBA during the mid-'90s). The trend persevered in high school, since I attended the same school.

By the time I was applying for a college, I thought of finally dropping the Benny moniker and start anew using my real name. And so, when college application forms ask for my nickname, I wrote my real nickname. However, I still wrote Benny beside my real nickname because, honestly, I have gotten quite acquainted with it. Still, if I were given a choice which name to use, I'll choose my nickname in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately, I wasn't the one who will decide which nickname to use for college. As soon as the letter of the college I eventually attended was handed out from school, the first words from the paper were "Hello, Benny!" My seat-mate could not contain his laughter.

College came and went, but during the four excruciating years that I had to study, flunk exams, study again, and isolate myself from people, I was known as Benny, a monster that consumed who I am.

After college, I have sought to damn and trend and finally get rid of the Benny name. In fact, while working for a part-time job, I introduced myself to him as my real nickname as we met at a local bar to discuss business plans. However, I wasn't expecting a batchmate of mine in college to be also part of the team. She pretty much summed up my sentiments on our timely encounter that evening after finding out that I was using my real nickname and not Benny: "Ang weird." After weeks of hanging out with them, I eventually left for greener pastures.

The first full-time job that I got accepted in, I introduced myself as my real nickname. No more Benny, I said to myself, with a sigh of relief. However, I soon found out that they had a former officemate who goes by the name of my real nickname. And so, for the sake of further confusion and complication, I simply asked them to call me Benny instead.

After almost two years with the company, only the HR people call me with my real nickname. Everybody else refers to me as Benny. Up to now, they, along with my classmates and acquaintances during my academic life, still call me Benny. Hell, even my girlfriend calls me Benny.

To wrap things up, I sometimes find it difficult to introduce myself to other people. I sometimes slip during social coterie and introduce myself as my real nickname to people who don't know me, but most of the people there are familiar with me as Benny. Moreover, I sometimes stall for a couple of seconds whenever I introduce myself to other people: should I use Benny or my real nickname? After that, people comment on how long it took me to say my name, making me appear like I'm stupid or something.

So yeah, I am stupid.

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