20 Apr. 2008

Barry O'Bomber

When I saw this BBC story about how Obama's old classmates used to call him "Barry", I thought that might be a nice antidote to the poisonous US media attacks on his name.
"At that time, here in Indonesia, all the parents pushed their kids: 'You have to become a doctor' or 'You have to become an engineer'," she told me. "But he wrote that he'd like to be a president. So we thought, 'Oh in your dreams!'"

Well, a lot has changed since those days. Barry, as he was known then, is now campaigning to be the Democratic nominee for exactly that job.
During high school the name further evolved into Barry O'Bomber - because he had a great jump shot:
Back then, Obama never went anywhere without his basketball, a ball given to him by his absent father...

His old coach remembers the last time he saw Obama in person a few years ago. He says he didn't want to bother the newly famous politician so he stayed off to the side.

"Part way through his speech," McLachlin said, "he kind of caught my eye in the back of the chapel and said, 'Coach Mac, how you doing? You know I used to play basketball here you guys and I really wasn't as good as I thought I was. Was I coach?' and we sort of laughed about it."
The "bomber" nickname might actually help him win votes off McCain. Let's just hope Obama doesn't live up to the moniker if and when he gets the keys to the White House.