Friends – the power of "Bob" knows no obstacle. Since my early childhood I enjoyed the brain numbing barrage of images from cable television, and I eventually found myself spending quite a bit of time watching programs like "Night Flight" on the USA Network -- occasionally catching fleeting glimpses of "Bob" during media assaults submitted by the SubGenius. Other programs included shows like "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" -- which as we all know did it's part at introducing the younger generations to that slackful grin.
These tiny touches of cerebral fortification were just what I needed to remind me of what Teacher Joe had taught me, and helped me keep my hard fought strength for the times that were ahead.
Fast forward to September of 1992, I had come home early from school this day. I recently had my wisdom teeth removed and had just gotten my stitches pulled. I took a shower and changed into some sweats. I was home alone, waiting for my friends to get home from school. I was on the phone chatting it up with a young lady friend when it happened.
First came the noise -- the long, low wail, like the sound of an incoming train, then a short, sharp thud! Glancing out the octagon window next to the fireplace, I saw a massive fireball fill the window. Running outside I saw the neighbor's whole backyard was engulfed in flame. I was standing in the heart of a plane crash. Seems that someone wasn't paying attention to their flight path and two planes collided in the air. One of these planes smashed into the newly constructed brick deck on the neighbor's house.
The fire and smoke was everywhere. As I ran closer, I saw someone slowly dragging themselves away from the burning wreckage. Instinct took over, and I rushed into the fire itself to pull the badly wounded man away from the blaze.
Now if you've never seen someone with fresh third degree burns over 100% of their body, it truly is a sight to behold. His skin, where it wasn't chard black, was a sharp yellow color, like the color of a banana, but richer. What was left of the skin clung to his body like the wispy flakes of a spent cigarette. But what was really striking was his ice blue eyes against the chard flesh. This eyes would come to haunt me to this day. His clothes, or what was left of them, had already melted to his body.
Eventually the rescue units began to arrive and, while helping to move the man out of the danger zone, I found myself standing there holding his leg, which had detached from his body. Truly an image that would 'sear' into my mind for years to come. To this day the sound of a plane flying overhead forces me to scan the sky for falling objects. Needless to say you will never get me to step foot on a plane ever again.
That evening, the young lady I had been speaking to on the phone at the time of the crash, and I hung out. She was worried about me and came by to make sure I was okay. I had been pretty shaken by the experience and she realized that I really shouldn't be left alone. She took me back to her place. While she showered and changed I sat in the living room, half out of it from shock. The television was on that miscreant channel MTV, and I couldn't have cared less.
I can't really describe my feelings at that moment. One would have to experience it themselves to really understand. Like a shell shocked solder, your emotions turn cold to protect you from cracking up. You find yourself sliding deeper and faster down that rabbit hole of despair and confusion, lost amidst the darkness of your own memory. Wandering the corridors of your mind, you open door after door, hoping to find the way out, only to find yourself standing in another corridor surrounded by more doors. Eventually you've gone too far, and may never find your way back.
As I sat there growing more numb by the moment a voice came blaring over the airwaves. A voice that seemed to scream at me and only me. A voice that seemed to grab me by my hair and slapped me in the face. The voice screamed: "What the hell do you think you're doing?!!" in what sounded like those insane televangelist preachers that belch hellfire and damnation over the UHF.
The voice continued: "Dragging your butt through the day, selling body and soul to a bunch of bland normals! Acting stupid so they'll think you're one of them? Tired of getting all of the guilt with none of the sex?" The voice seemed so familiar to me, yet I couldn't place it. Like a voice from the past trickling back into my consciousness, yet was so powerful a voice that it rattled the heavens.
Again the voice boomed from the tiny speaker in the front of the television set: "There is a simple answer, dear friends!" As I gazed at the screen from the darkness that had enveloped me, my eyes took in the image of the face of J.R. "Bob" Dobbs! As if at that precise moment he knew exactly when I needed his Slack power to rescue me from the twisted perdition I was falling into. That old strength that saved me from the years of isolation, the strength to persevere when the will of others lie shattered on the ground came flooding back into me -- coursing through my veins. Once again the power of "Bob" grabbed me by the testicles and yanked my soul from the clutches of darkness.
And my dear friends, Not only did I find it in me to stand mightily in the face of the feces life had flung in my general direction -- but that night, I got laid!