Put this in the Strangest And Most Jarring Facebook Messages Category: meet Robert Bobo.
I hadn’t seen him since high school, and we didn’t hang around together that much. I just have a series of memories of winding up standing in the same group of people with him, at a football game or a study hall or a big, crazy keg party in the middle of a soy bean field.
One thing I can remember about him though – always smiling. Never acting like the bad guy from The Karate Kid. A lot of people in high school go through Bad Guy From The Karate Kid phase. Rob was never like that.
His sister is around here somewhere, and I’d say I probably knew her a little better than I knew Rob. We are a couple of guys who, in the pre-Facebook world, would have very likely never set foot in the same room again, and not for any particular reason. Just as a matter of probability. It would have been pretty unlikely that I’d have ever run into his sister again, either.
But at first, that’s pretty much all The Curse Of Future Tom was – a bunch of people from my high school and a bunch of people I know now, mixed together. A lot of people who I probably would have never seen or heard from again, if not for Facebook.
Now I’m getting incoming links to the web site from all over. I followed one all the way back to the Czech Republic. A discussion group, talking in Czech about my Lost rant.
So anyway, when Robert Bobo popped up in my Question Bucket – even if he wasn’t using the Bucket properly, like most people – he said, some pretty immediate Strange and Jarring Things.
The first is, he’s got a terminal illness, and it hurts. He’s got a year or two to live, is what he tells me.
And then he goes on to say that he used to own a company which worked on the computer effects in The Matrix and What Dreams May Come. That he’s taken a leak with Robin Williams.
I really like your blog, he tells me. If I write something, what would you think about posting it?
I don’t know, man. What on earth would you TALK about? I mean, terminal illnesses and ground-breaking films?
You really need to have a solid platform, if you’re going to blog. Like me, a skinny, fat guy who likes to sit around watching television and drink bacon-flavored bloody marys. That’s the kind of gripping perspective people are really out there looking for.
So yes, obviously, Presenter Of One Of The Strangest And Most Jarring Facebook Messages I’ve Ever Received, have at it. Nearly Two Months Ago Tom said that I had to post at least eight hundred words a day. He didn’t say, AND NOBODY ELSE, JUST YOU!
I think that about 90% of the original members of The Curse Of Future Tom will be happy to hear about practically anything that isn’t LOST. I wouldn’t tell Rob that, though. He appears to be itching for a fight, and if he thinks you don’t like something, I am concerned – that’s what he’s going to do.
In my mind, I’m thinking you haven’t read his post yet, so if you haven’t let me just point out, I’m only being flip and casual about the subject because that’s the way he wants it. I know that I enjoy flying off the handle on a semi-regular basis, let off some steam as they say. I don’t know what I’d do if no one ever gave me a reason to do so.
My old friend Robert Bobo wants you to know about his condition because it’s not a secret, and also because there are logistic factors attached to it. He’s far enough along, for instance, that it’s tough to plan anything. Some days are better than other days, and the worst ones, he tells me, are worse than anything the rest of us will have to go through for a long time.
How long does he have? What exact condition is it? What is up with his hostile, invisible monkey? Well, head on over there and ask him.
But I know what it’s like, having something to say and never being able to say it. The big difference is, when I was sitting around unable to say anything, at least nothing anyone would be able to hear, there seemed like there was a future out there in which I might be a writer in one form or another. Having the future out there was a blessing and a curse.
It let me think that there was plenty of time, and it let me reassure myself, some day you’ll get there. And it let me stagnate for so long. I wasn’t dying, wasn’t even approaching the intensity and magnitude of Rob’s experience. But in a lonely and melodramatic way, I sometimes felt like I was.
I know that right away, even when the numbers were in the double digits instead of the thousands, writing The Curse Of Future Tom felt like a daily dose of medicine, prescribed finally for a condition I’d had all along. And I’m not going to hog the pills.
He’s right here, with his first post. You’ll notice pretty quickly, he’d rather you don’t tiptoe around him. Someone go over there and flip over his desk, start screaming obscenities at him – you’ll probably make his day.