Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Use to Be Such A Sweet Sweet Thing...

...Until they got a hold of me. ( Alice Cooper, No More Mister Nice Guy)

I have no idea where I heard this, but it stuck in my head because Joe threw out all my unframed prints I had stored in an old, old, old trash bag. Like from the 1970's it was that old. And it looked like something important was in it, laid up against the kitchen wall. Oh well, ...oh well....I heard something that went like this, "You forgave them for throwing away your concert ticket collection".

Which made me check on my collection, which I have spread out in several places. (so that if he can only throw out part of it)and I fingered the Alice Cooper ticket from the mid-70's and remembered. (which is exactly why you hang on to stuff, for the memory bomb).

I was living in Mayberry* while I was waiting out an academic suspension from college and working at some minimum wage job (that should have convinced me to straighten up and fly right...but that is another story) and Alice Cooper was the hottest thing on the concert circuit.

It was when he was chopping off his head in a guillotine. Rock theater. I think he invented it, didn't he?

Naturally we had to drive to Louisville to catch the show. I am thinking Rupp Arena was not yet built. (damn I'm old) (but younger than Alice). I say "we" because I had talked Bad Bob into going with me.

Bad Bob.

Bad Bob.

How I hooked up with BB I do not remember. More than likely I just drove around Mayberry* determined to find someone to make the trip with me because someone else had bailed on me (?) and found him. More than likely smoking cigarettes by the convenient store and trying to pick up chicks.

I met Bad Bob at the swimming pool years before. The swimming pool was the place for summer fun and everyone went to idyll away the summer heat. Bad Bob was from the wrong side of the tracks to put it politely. I'm not certain if he/his family had a membership to the pool, but who was going to stop him? He did not earn the name Bad Bob for nothing!

Joe has known Bad Bob since elementary school. Bob was held back, much to the horror of Joe's class. Joe had gotten a brand new knife, (I know I know, this is boy stuff from long ago) as a gift, maybe a birthday gift. Anyway, Joe was at his locker when Bad Bob comes up and tells Joe he is going to swap him a girlie magazine for his new knife. And that was all there was to it. Joe was in no position to disagree. He handed over the knife and received an girlie magazine from the 1950's (or so he says) that was so looked over the cover was gone and most the pages were missing. The new knife is gone but Joe is left with his teeth (he would have had to fight Bad Bob to keep the knife and Joe is no dummy).

Anyway, for some unfathomable reason, Bad Bob and I were friends back in the pool day. We played chess while I was watching the front desk (oh yea, I was a lifeguard) and stuff like that. He hung out with the most popular kids in Mayberry* High! We drove around, which was about our only form of entertainment when the pool closed, and drank bourbon straight from the bottle. (I think this was the summer of Easy Rider, nick, nick)

I once ran across Bad Bob, who had become a respected (of sorts) builder in Mayberry* at the church carnival. He was with his wife and children. We smiled and acknowledged each other, but the eyes, his eyes told me this was no time to have a conversation. His blond beautiful wife looked on, blowing smoke from a lit cigarette. As I said, we nodded.

The last time I saw Bob was at a small bar. We were tossing back beers and arm wrestling, of all stupid crazy things. We ended up in my car and he was driving me somewhere and we were pulled over by the police. High School all over again. The police drove me to where I wanted to go and Bad Bob went to jail.

(This is the strange weird part)....There is this noon mass that is held at a church in Lexington that I use to go to when I felt the need. I was sitting in the back and realized that out of the 15 or so people there I knew one of them. A guy from Mayberry! During the mass it is asked if anyone has a request for prayer and my friend asked for prayers for Bad Bob.

He took my hand after mass and told me Bob was dead, had killed himself. He had put a paper bag over his head and shot himself.

Alice Cooper's show in Louisville. Bad Bob tolerating it for me, his friend.

I have a small collection of old concert tickets.



*Ficticious name for a place that could have been Mayberry back in the day.


nellemclaughlin said...

How well I remember the summer of Easy Rider. I think we all had a Bad Bob in our high school. Ours was named Bill. He was always sitting down at our lunch table and tormenting all the girls. He could be congenial one on one but at times he was an insufferable bully to us all. One day in the Spring of gas lines when I was quite pregnant my Ford Pinto caught on fire while I was waiting in the line. I watched as paint bubbled and rolled off the roof. Suddenly I look up and Bully Billy was there smothering the fire. He then made me get out of the car and have it towed to the Ford dealer. He said he knew me but couldn't really figure out exactly who I was. I heard about twenty years later that he also took his own life.
It was shocking to me and the police officer who went to the house was someone who had known him for so many years.

I only have one concert ticket but I have boxes of stuff safely tucked away in my bedroom closet. They facilitate my trips down memory lane, as does your entry. Thank you for doing that.
Peace be with you.

slapinions said...

Very good entry, as usual. You're getting very artistic in the construction of your posts. Bittersweet melencholy (sp?) memory.


jmorancoyle said...

    How sad. It sounds like the making of a movie or book.

sunnyside46 said...

RIP, Bad Bob
He lives on in an old concert ticket
who knows the trails we leave behind us?