So, if your name is really Joseph Paul Havlicek, why in the heck do people call you Joebob ?

This question comes up quite often, and I shall here divulge the real story behind the Joebob thing. After lunch on my last day of work as a regular full-time employee at the United States Naval Research Laboratory, my colleagues there and I were gathered in my office saying our farewells. I was leaving to pursue a Ph.D. degree in the Laboratory for Vision Systems at the University of Texas at Austin.

It occurred to me then that it would be a real hoot if I could somehow get my e-mail address in Texas to be joebob --- joebob@texas. Now that would be a scream, I thought. Having lived most of my life in the East, you understand, I had never heard of a person actually being named Joebob, except for that lineman in the movie North Dallas Forty... and I had just assumed that to be a joke.

Well, I got my e-mail address to be joebob all right. But most people in Texas did not see this as a joke. They just presumed that my name really was Joebob. Across the street from me, there even lived a guy named Billybob. Certain people not only relished this situation, but took glee in exacerbating it as well. Most notable among these was my major professor Al Bovik. Thanks mostly to him, I soon found myself meeting professional colleagues from all corners of the globe who already knew me as Joebob.

It didn't take long before I started answering to Joebob, and even came to like it. Most of my relatives, being from the east side of the Mississippi, still find this pretty amusing. I, however, proudly own a white cowboy hat as well as black one!

Updated: May 24, 1997
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