Back in 2004 I was still a young dude adjusting to adult life in the biggest city, New York. My years there were some of the highest highs and lowest lows in my life, and it was a constant process of adjustment that provided plenty of weird moments and perspectives. After buying a new laptop, my trusty Toshiba “Big Blue”, I thought I’d try keeping a blog the same way a small handful of my friends had done. The tone was goofy, ridiculous and vulgar, but I also wrote the way I think: about anything and everything, spinning it around to get a look at all sides.
Individual blogging was still a small-scale novelty in 2004, and I had a higher-traffic blogger notice my site one day and start sending over some readers from Standing on the Box, a Gawker-promoted first-person blog about working as a bouncer in NYC. Eventually I learned the writer’s name was Bob, that he was a football fan and former D-1 player, and that he was going to be hanging out at a bar with another Internet-popular anonymous blogger and this guy if I wanted to meet up and hang out. Over a few beers in a West Village bar, we all shot the shit about blogging and all the lighthearted nonsense that came with it, and before long we were grabbing drinks on a regular basis with other blogging oddballs. Like I said, it was a novelty.
In time Bob and I bonded over more than blogging, though. For all the hugely interesting things that he did in life — playing D-1 football, Army tours in Bosnia, teaching and coaching at a top NYC private school, working with some of the most advanced strength trainers in the country, and then creating a well-written insight into the not-so-glamorous side of NYC nightlife and scoring a book deal based on that insight — he shared an underlying bog-Irish psychology that no matter what heights you reach, a vocal part of your consciousness still questions whether you really deserve to be there, even as you strive to experience, learn and process more and more of life. He was from Queens and I was from Pittsburgh, but whenever we discussed our respective experiences, I could count on a friend who had that same sense of awkward, romantic amazement at exploring the world beyond your origins.
It’s that that I’ll miss most about Bob — he passed away suddenly last weekend at age 43. I’ll really miss the surface-level fun: busting balls over wings and beers in some pub, texting about the NFL or hanging with Willie Colon, and hitting shows at NYC rock venues to hear some live metal. But most of all, it’s tough knowing that I no longer have that friend and fellow traveler who knew the importance of broadening yourself.
Rest in peace, Bob.