How Goober Made Me Who I Am


Yes, I am the goofy looking child with three ponytails sticking out of her head and a smile that screams silliness.

So, first and foremost, I must clarify why the name you see in big, bold letters is Goober.

No, I do not have some weird obsession with the ‘Goofy Goober’ song from the idiotic SpongeBob; it is a nickname I have had far longer than that rancid yellow sponge ever made its regrettable debut onto Nickelodeon.

To start my explanation, my dad, well, he is a goof. Always has been, and for some un-Godly reason, he thought that my nickname should be Goober. Do not ask me why, he doesn’t even know why. It just is what it is. I don’t question it, so neither should you.

The name, however silly, has stuck since my third day on this earth, and throughout my childhood, it made frequent appearances on lunch bags, school papers, scissors, and, much to my dismay, my backpack.

I detested the embarrassing pet name. I wanted it eradicated from every person’s vocabulary, starting with my father’s.

And on the days he drove me to school, though they we infrequent in number, explain why.

It all started with the elementary school carpool line.

The line was uniquely set up so the fifth graders (aka the coolest kids in school) would open the doors for the children, kindergarten to fifth grade, to get out of their cars. And you were not, as a ‘car-rider’, permitted to exit your vehicle, no matter how dire the circumstance, until your chauffeur pulled in front of your quasi-valet.

So, every single time my father pulled up to said valet, he would scream in his booming voice three horrifyingly simple words: “Love you, Goober!”

And no matter how many times this scene played out, my normally pale face would turn a blotchy beet red, and I would stomp away in angry misery because I knew there was nothing I could do to stop it. Of course, I dramatized the event in my head. I would imagine all of the kids laughing hysterically and pointing fingers in my direction, scarring my identity forever.

Luckily or unluckily, I never knew if any of these things happened, because in order to (literally) save face, I would stare down at my feet while making my exit and refused to look up until I was safely within the walls of my elementary school. Finally out of earshot of my father’s shouting.

Why didn’t I ever say anything to stop this, you ask?

For one simple reason: If I were to have asked him to stop, he would continue the misery in even more grotesquely embarrassing ways. For example, he might even park and walk me into the school. Cue the gasps of shock now. 

Therefore, there was no other choice than to put on my big-girl pants and muddle through this cruel and unusual punishment.

This charade continued on through elementary school, junior high, and, you guessed it, high school.

Every single time he dropped me off. Despite my embarrassment and apparent hatred of the name, somewhere between seventh and eighth grade, it stopped bothering me. I suspect it was a gradual process, starting with the disappearance of the red blotchy color of my cheeks and lifting my head from my feet to the school in front of me.

As a consequence of this unyielding embarrassment, unbeknownst to my dad and me, my confidence was growing and maturing. My father, as much as I despised him for this nickname, was giving me two of the greatest gifts a teenaged girl could ask for: thick skin and morale.

Now, the name represents me. It has become a part of me, a symbol of who I am.

I have accepted and taken pride in this name. It shows I am prepared and willing to face the realities of life, however harsh, cruel or wonderful they may be, and it’s all thanks to a person that I thought was trying to ruin my adolescent life.

Thanks, Dad.