The Bob Talbot Memorial Hall of Embarrassing Shit

I’m not the type of guy who could ever have a museum. I’ve been to the Clinton Library and Endless Repetitive Architectural Trailer Joke in Little Rock, Arkansas, and they did an okay job of lampshading his indiscretions by including a small section on his impeachment debacle, but there’s still an air of, “I think they left some shit out.”

The nifty Facebook On This Day Feature (still the bane of my existence) fills in well enough, and some small part of me feels sorry for my friends and coworkers who have had to witness me stumblefuck my way through life without being able to tie me to a stake and set it ablaze. This has proven a few things to me, first and foremost that charisma goes a long way, and maybe I have a little more in common with Billy Boy than I’d like to admit.

Still, with regard to non-penis related endeavors, there’s plenty to fill something the size of the British Museum but with way less plundered artifacts. Oh wait, it’s exactly like the British Museum.

Mark Twain would have had this kind of talk locked up in a vault for a century after his death. The difference is, once it was revealed, it amounted to 3000 pages of things like, “Colonel Mustache was a bloviator who made smelly toots in the presence of company.”

While I do recall hacking LiveJournal’s Russian mainframe (I remembered my password) and making the entries private years ago, there still exist a number of essays about how I was about to become one of the captains of industry at Wal-Mart entirely through my own moxie, gumption, and bootstrap levitation.

Hell, just yesterday I almost threw a water bottle down the main aisle at work after I was informed we were no longer allowed to have drinks on the sales floor. Luckily, one of my comrades reminded me my body was property of the Glorious People’s Revolution and I’d do well to not die on that anthill.

Guess who else gets to have water at the register, though? Wal-Mart employees. I should count my blessings, though. There’s no amount of cool swigs I’d trade for the luxury of not having to return home after my daily 14 hour shift and calculate how drunk I can get before I’m forced to detox in time for the morning alarm.

“Where’s your truck, Bob?”

“Oh, uh, my wife dropped me off today.”


Last night on the drive home from work, it occurred to me how much I’ve changed compared to the spans of time over which I’ve held politicians accountable for their shitty opinions. A dozen years ago, while Hillary Clinton was saying marriage was between a man and a woman, I was beating my chest about American Empire and expressing Hitchensesque declarations about the Middle East. Perhaps I should have been a bit more forgiving.

Even if you don’t make a big 180, life has a way of blunting the edges off your spiky shell. Bernie Sanders complimented Fidel Castro (not necessarily a bad thing, but he wouldn’t do it today) and traveled to the Soviet Union (again, not a big deal) when I was in grade school thirty years ago. I feel like I’ve lived a dozen lives since then, and I’m sure he does too.

I don’t often talk about the years I spent unemployed and shut-in, existing among dog and cat shit pyramids on the carpet. I don’t think any of the big movers and shakers have periods like this, that they’ll admit to, anyway. It fits more in a fallen rock star bio. Chuck Palahniuk once wrote that every few years he takes his belongings, burns them, and rises like a phoenix from the ashes. I hoard my past lives, and instead of regenerating like the Doctor, I glom it on like Tetsuo in Akira, a big beefy rockin’ blob of Bob. I carry that albatross around because I have to look at its carcass to remember what I’ve learned.

On this day, years ago, I wrote, “When our children Google us, WHAT WILL THEY FIND?” I hope there’s still a Google for them to Google on, because what a show. I’m not going to be able to do what one of my ancestors did when they claimed they’d been married once instead of thrice, and I’m not sure I’d have it any other way. We make such caricatures of people when we simplify them in legend and on screen. I’m sure that if we could crack open every human psyche and reveal it all to each other simultaneously, either world peace would immediately spring forth, or we’d enter into an eight-billion-person suicide pact.

Until then, I’ll be spraying my diarrhea of the mind into the faces of the public. This is my free therapy. When this nifty digital thing ends, I’ll carve it into the cave walls while you visit the post-apocalyptic psychologist (accepts pelts, clams, assorted sparkly baubles) and we’ll compare notes.

I’m really holding out for the Google, though. Fingers crossed.

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