At the time this bit appears on screen, it will be four in the afternoon in Georgia.
And, at that selfsame hour, many people shall gather at a funeral home in Savannah. And likewise, untold thousands of words will also appearing on countless screens, from I expect, hundreds of writers. All of whom pay homage to a great and fallen man.
Rob Smith was about as far away from sainthood as is possible and yet still be considered a good man. And coversely, the cranky old bastard was a far, far better man than most who consider themselves saints.
Acidman changed many a life. Not only did his writing change my life, but his friendship, albiet from a distance, changed my life for the better. Though I'd been reading and commenting on sites like the gone-but-not-forgotten Rachel Lucas, and the original Kim DuToit dot com, I had never even given a moment's thought to launching a work of my own.
That is, 'till Rob and Key Monroe joined forces and cajoled me into jumping into the abyss.
And as a result of that leap, my world has expanded far beyond my wildest imaginations. I've been read, linked, cussed and praised by people and websites I'd have never imagined existed.
I have met and made many a friend, both online and off.
And that's really what so much of this comes down to. Rob kicked me in the ass to start writing, as he thought I had something worthwhile to say. But more than that, Rob gave a damn enough about someone he'd never met, to spend his time on the phone (which we all know he wasn't a fan of), and invest his experience, insight, humor and wisdom into me, and my fledgeling work. Which in time, became a true investment of friendship, one with another.
I'm not alone in that. He did it for dozens...maybe hundreds. Truly, we shall never fully know.
Now, I don't claim to have been Rob's friend on par with his Georgia crew. And only the ladies can know his friendship in the sorority of the scarlet toenail. And most of them, ain't telling, nohow. sigh.
I think if the number of blogs which hit the screen due to Rob's influence were calculated, the sum would be astonishing. I'll wager that many readers became writers, just because they came to know that Gutrumbles had already blazed the trail ahead of them, that they had naught to fear in taking the leap.
Amusingly, some of those Acid-inspired blogs proved to be weak tea, dying in the scorn and derision of their progenitor. I cannot count the times I read of Rob's ire at the various "mommyflowerkittenbabywhinypuppypoopyblogs" which came and often, went.
Conversely, many times I burned countless hours, just reading links to other fine sites which Rob highlighted and recommended. And I became friends with some of them, too. Rob had a fine eye for great writing, and was generous in his appreciations. He knew he was a fine writer, and he reveled in finding others, not in hoarding all praise to his own works.
Rob became a friend, and Rob introduced me to many a friend thereafter. That ain't a bad thing, in and of itself.
As any writer knows, writing ain't easy, not if you do it well. And Rob demanded that I do it well, or not at all. So, I've tried here in this small site to stand in his shadow now and then, and every now and then, I've succeeded.
But mostly, I've been but able to stand in awe of the master. His prolific output was beyond compare. His take-no-prisonaers honesty, often breathtaking. The consistent quality of his writing, a standard few can meet.
I won't speak much of the ongoing train-wreck aspect of his life. Suffice to say, that mostly Rob was his own worst enemy on many levels. And it is in those realms where I wish him to "Rest in Peace".
Because otherwise, I think Kevin Baker said it best.
If there's an afterlife, I hope yours is a lot like Costa Rica, with sweet nubile women, a working Roscoe, and all the good food, good beer, and good company you could ever want. You will be sorely missed.
Now, a final word. I've been as maudlin, emotionally torn-up and just flat-out shattered at Rob's demise as imaginable. I've shared tears with friends on the phone, swapped some war-stories of Rob and most sadly, have been the bearer of the bad news to three who had not yet read of his death. Those were the worst moments of all.
But now, it's time to move on. Rob wrote often of his football days, of playing through the pain, of hustling through the hurt. So, we've got it to do.
Life goes on. Shitty things in the news which would've pissed Rob off still need ranting. The laughable idiocy of the Left still need lampooning. Bourbon needs be sipped, cigars need be smoked, hogs must be roasted and fresh green peanuts need their boiling.
It falls to us to do all that, lest we be dragged off and shot.
Goodbye, Rob. Adios, Acidman, you cranky old bastard.
Sloop New Dawn