Saturday, September 30, 2023


I walked into a restaurant to grab my takeout order and as I approached the pick up area the cashier called to me: "Rodrigo!" Rodrigo? Then I realized he was hailing me by my real name, the one I rarely tell people about. He must have gotten Rodrigo from the credit card slip. Since college I have always introduced myself as Rick, leaving Rodrigo for my tax returns, passport, and other official documents.

Rodrigo is a great name but it is a mouthful. For some of my grade school classmates growing up in New Jersey, they would elide the "d", which comes out like "Rawr-rigo". If I'm remembering the story correctly, my parents began to call me Ric (and Ricky) because in the 1950s there was a Filipino actor named Ric Rodrigo. I am able to see web pages [1] [2] and even a YouTube video (in Tagalog) that prove this namesake. I only wish he had gotten into an American movie!

After my momentary surprise at being called Rodrigo, I confirmed that I was indeed Rodrigo, here to pick up my Saturday night takeout. I guessed he was probably still in high school based on his long floppy hair beneath a baseball cap. I silently applauded his boldness. When I was his age, I addressed older men as sir or mister and I suppose over the last several years I've come to expect that.

I wish I had responded to him with humor or boldness: "And what's your name young man?" or "What do they call you sonny?" I wish I had asked for his name! I'll be sure to next time I'm there. And I'll be sure to invite him to call me Rick.