Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I use to be such a Sweet Sweet Thing...

...Until they got a hold of me. ( Alice Cooper, No more Mr. 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.


Lisa :-] said...

I have to say, small towns are great for this kind of story. I was not brought up in a small town, but I live in one now, and I marvel at all the connections that come and go and come again between these people that were born into this community.

Great storytelling, Mar.

Becky said...

Tsk. My "bad Bob" was killed by drug dealers supposedly in a deal gone wrong...he had a screw driver jammed into his brain. Sometimes I think when you are born into bad circumstances, some folks just never seem to catch a break and find their way out. I used to see Bobby at a community pool too. He was one of the few kids who would talk to me. I was shy and most of the kids were kinda snobby and ignored me. Never went to a concert with him tho. And my little brother ripped my concert ticket collection into confetti one time when he was pissed off at me. *sigh* No memory triggers for me.