What Does Roheblius Mean?

Nada, nada, nada, not a damn thing
What’s Duke Ellington without that swing?
What’s Alex Haley if it doesn’t have roots?
What’s a weekend if you ain’t knockin boots?

“What?” by A Tribe Called Quest

Every few months or so, someone will ask me, “What does Roheblius mean?” And then I go on and tell them the story that I’m currently writing. I recently realized that I’ve been using that name as a username and email address for nearly 18 years. And this blog has been around since the early 2000s, so nearly that long as well.

(By the way, whenever I hear that question, I always think of the song “What?” by A Tribe Called Quest for whatever reason.)

When that name came to me, I just decided to use it for everything. It’s a made-up word so when it came to email addresses and anything I’d have to sign up for, it would always be available. And I would never have to remember a different username or login ever again. One can only use so many versions of Brandon Walsh and 90210.

When I was a kid, I’d listen to old Bill Cosby records that my dad had. Some were borrowed. Some were purchased at garage sales. And I know that the name Bill Cosby just caused an itch for most reading this, but back in the late 80s, if I wasn’t watching “The Cosby Show”, I was probably listening to some of Bill’s standup on vinyl.

His classic skit is a long one about him and his brother Russell. But there was a shorter skit he did that I liked about having two daughters and how he really wanted sons. He compared the two experiences of his daughters to night and day. The oldest one was so perfect, they had to rush to have another to make sure they didn’t lose their touch. But the second one was the exact opposite.

Listening to this, I wondered how different that experience could be. I wanted two kids and I wanted them when I was young. Sometimes, you get exactly what you ask for. And yes, both experiences were quite different.

If you want to listen to the skit, it’s pretty short, but the part that I’m talking about starts at around the 2:40 mark.

When my ex-wife Carol was pregnant with Brian, I had her listen to the skit about the two daughters. There’s one part where Bill talks about the second child and compares her to beelzebub.

One day, Carol wasn’t feeling too well. The baby may have been jumping around, or she was nauseous. In trying to explain to me what was going on, she said, “Roheblius is being bad.”

I didn’t understand.

She then said, “You know, Roheblius, like in the Bill Cosby skit.”

I sat there for a few seconds to try and figure out what she meant. She is notorious for using words incorrectly, but in this case, she was making up a word completely. And then it hit me. She meant beelzebub. She was talking about the unborn child who was acting devilish inside of her.

And then I just laughed and laughed.

But soon, I thought that this made up-word could be useful. I wanted to keep it in our existence. And that’s when I started using it. Just by constantly using it, it’s stayed with me all these years.

So when people ask me, “What does Roheblius mean?” this is the literal answer. Though, he was quite the opposite of devilish.


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