The long goodbye
I want to participate in Chablis' Carnival of the Blogfaddah but I can't pick one favorite post. I was never any good at playing favorites, I like EVERYTHING, so I decided to go back in the archives to when I found Gut Rumbles the second time and try to figure out what exactly hooked me on the blog, and ultimately the man.
I was surprised to find I had been reading him for only just under a year. It felt longer but I arrived in mid August of 05, flopped into my chair at the Crackerbox and never left. I read the whole month's worth of posts and these few sum up for me, how I came to care about a guy who called himself Acidman.
Rob Smith and I could not have been more different in our politics but our views on life and our life experiences were remarkably similar. He wasn't afraid to die, but he was always mindful of death and how narrowly we escape it until our time comes. Take this story about when he was almost struck by lightning. He figured he lived through that one because the expiration date stamped by the cosmos on his ass hadn't expired yet. That's the way I feel about it too.
He wasn't a pious man. He had a very pragmatic view of religion but he was a Godly man. He practiced the tenets of Christianity better than most of the churchgoers who proclaim their faith so loudly. And when he talked about his mama's cookin', it was with an almost religious reverence.
I wasn't a big fan of his crap blogging. I'm not much for bathroom humor, maybe because I've endured too many gastrinomical indignities in my life, but this fart story was one of my favorite posts. It was so well written you could see the scene as he described it and I found the vision of this macho cracker bonding with his cherished son over silly boy stuff, beautiful and moving. I think that was the moment I began to like him as person and not just as a writer.
The comments seem to have been deleted from the archives but as I recall the first time I commented was on this post about dogs and their names. It reminded me of my two favorite departed pets, Moonshine, an orange tabby kitten with the loudest purr on earth and my old dog Chum whom I miss to this day, some 35 years later. I remember getting all teary eyed thinking about them.
Emboldened by my success with that comment -- I didn't get immediately kicked out -- I ventured into wider terrority. It wasn't long before I got my first fisking. I recall being pleased he had noticed my comment. For one thing it gave me another chance to pitch my anti-drug war schtick and although I didn't admit it to myself at the time, I was also pleased that he had noticed me, as I was already becoming intrigued by him and was glad for an opening to step into his life. I probably decided at that moment I was going to make friends with this crazy curmudgeon.
And so I did. I don't remember exactly when he put me on his blogroll but I remember it brought tears to my eyes when I first saw it. I've never been much one for worrying about being "in" with the "in crowd" but his acceptance had become unnaturally important to me. It meant a lot that he publicly "declared" me a worthy blogger.
Don't get me wrong. I have no illusions about Rob. He was a hell of a writer but he was no saint. He was a drama queen and a womanizer with a giant ego and was not above stretching the truth to suit his own purposes. In a way I feel lucky that I didn't get to know him well enough to have been disillusioned by him, the better to enjoy the good memories I have. And mine are mostly all good.
We could not have been more different and yet as trite as it sounds, we were kindred souls, destined to be friends for life. I'm only sorry that his expiration date came up too soon for us to realize the full potential of that bond. But I'll cherish what little we shared and I know I'll carry the stamp he indelibly marked on my soul to my own grave and be a better woman for it.