A dear friend of mine asked me if I had a nickname growing up. I vividly hear my mom and dad say it best, “Hey, Arge.”

As the fourth Robert and fifth James in my family, my folks agreed there were waaay too many Robs, Bobs, James, Jims in the family. So they kept it simple and named me R. J.

My grandmother at my birth wasn’t exactly sure how to spell it. As we are all taught in school, sound it out. “AreJay,” she wrote. “BobRobRobert” became my couisin Robert’s nickname, she figured if she said all three she’d nail it the first time, every time.

People often ask me what “R. J.” stands for. “Robert James” truth be told, but in certain situations I might lead with a suave “Rupert Johann” or “I’m Rick James, b***h” (Burning Man reference).

Babies tend to resemble paternal traits for the first few years. There an evolutionary reason: paternal similarly tends to keep the father around longer.

I was my Father’s clone for many years, much to the chagrin of my Mom.

So here’s to all the new mom’s in the world… the kiddo will eventually look like you!
Pictured Top Left: My Mom’s senior portrait, Grandmother holding me, Me two weeks overdue at 9lbs 8oz / 21.5”, and my sailor suit. I found this picture frame in an antic years ago and only recently did I discover that the frame was the very frame on the wall displaying my Mom’s college diploma (Top Right).

6 Responses to ““Arge””

  1. Marnie Kern — March 24, 2011 @ 10:05 am (#)

    Loved your name tribute! Captured perfectly. Gma paid for that frame job. Fitting after paying big bucks for my 4yrs of a private college tuition. Love you! Mom

  2. Meg Hagerty — March 24, 2011 @ 10:29 am (#)

    I enjoyed your blog post. I remember Grandma Kern spelling it “Arjay.” I guess everyone had his or her own distinctive idea of how R.J. should appear in print.

  3. Danny — March 24, 2011 @ 2:18 pm (#)

    RJ, my wife will be thrilled to learn of this phenomenon. Very intereting…

  4. Rob Kern — March 24, 2011 @ 4:46 pm (#)

    RJ, Arjay… very nice tribute to your Mother. I still don’t see the resemblance to me….I always felt you resembled your Mother….more so today as an adult. Whatever, you will always be my son who has always made his Mother and me proud! I think I know who the dear friend may be! Love, Dad

  5. Amy — March 24, 2011 @ 10:34 pm (#)

    I can honestly say I have NO clue how I stumbled upon this site. I’m glad I did, though… your blog and your pictures are entertaining.

    Oh, and your dad delivered my 3-year-old. And I must say, you still look a whole lot like him. 🙂 Your dad, I mean… not my 3-year-old. That’d be a weird conversation to have on a photog-blog! *ahem*

  6. Sean Kern — March 25, 2011 @ 4:26 am (#)

    Nicely done bro. Well put together. I still feel I’m adopted. Hehe

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