Back in 1989, I was in high school. Grade 10 to be exact. Oh what a fun time that was. I wasn’t much of a social person among the high school crowd. I tended to keep to myself and just do my work. It didn’t help that I looked like a complete and total geek. I’ve improved slightly since then but needless to say, I didn’t fit in. However, among my own friends outside of school, I managed to keep people entertained, and have a good time.
During one excessively boring evening, my friend J.C. Chiasson was over. We were sitting around talking, listening to music, talking about girls. You know. The typical teenage stuff. While sitting around trying to find something better to do with our time, I wanted to get some more light in the room. The room we would hang out in was mostly the basement. My bedroom was too small so my folks let me have the basement to put all of my junk in. This would play a pivotal role later. Anyway, my mom had left an old stand up lamp downstairs. There was no shade or bulb in it but she had left this weird shade lying around. The shade wasn’t like a normal lamp shade. It actually screwed into the top of the lamp, then the light bulb would screw into the shade itself. After screwing the shade into the lamp, J.C. & I both noticed that it kinda looked like a head.
Stepping back to get a better look, it almost looked like a stick man with no arms or legs, and just a head. Of course, being excessively bored, and tired, somehow made that a neat thing. I then thought that maybe we could give the stick man some arms of some kind. So, I grabbed two coat hangers and intertwined them together to make one long piece of wire. I then wrapped the wire around the middle of the lamp, leaving equal amounts of it sticking out either side. I took an old T-shirt and put it on the stick man, putting the head through the top, and the wire out the two arm holes.
It didn’t quite look right. J.C. thought it would be a good idea if we found him some kind of hands and a way to put them on. I took an old bathrobe that I didn’t use and put it on the stick man as well. We then took an old pair of gloves, and gently hooked them onto the wire, so it made it look like he had hands. After drawing a face on him, we completed the look with a pair of 3-D glasses. Bob was born.
However, his name didn’t come right away. As you can see from the photograph (pictured left), Bob is holding a bag of Doritos. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, there was a big advertising campaign going on for Doritos chips. The ads consisted of a mysterious man named Bob who loved to eat Doritos. We hadn’t come up with a name for our stick man until one night when some friends were visiting, someone said “Who’s Bob?”, like they did in the commercials, and me and J.C. agreed, the stick man in the corner would become the mysterious Doritos man.
Bob would undergo a lot of changes in the next few years. Because of his nature, Bob didn’t stay together too well. There were quite a few times where his hands would fall off, or his shirt would slouch down too far, and other annoying problems. We (myself and friends of mine) experimented with different ways to get him to stay in one piece. This was difficult because his frame was so small. So, my good friend Jason Hyslop took it upon himself to completely reconstruct his frame. By adding rope, pieces of clothing, and all sorts of other stuffing, he taped together a pretty good frame that would support his body and his clothes. I stuffed his gloves with padding to give depth to his fingers, and we added pants & slippers to give the illusion of legs & feet.
Bob would get different clothing on a regular basis. It usually resulted in a change in a T-shirt, change in eyes (different glasses), different robes, and other stuff as well. We tried hair on him, using cassette ribbon but it didn’t look very well. He wore a catcher’s mask for awhile but that was a lot of extra weight on his head/face and it never really looked right.
Now, for the longest time, the lampshade head actually had a light bulb in it and on occasion, we’d plug Bob in and “turn him on”. However, through some means I cannot recall, the switch was damaged and his light would no longer function. It was shortly after that, Bob had his first decapitation. A very traumatic experience for the young man, but none the less, it would lead to a much better looking Bob.
During a visit to a local pet store, I saw one of those ceramic skulls that are put in fish tanks as decoration. I thought that would be the perfect head for Bob. So, not so long after that, Bob received a new head that was a major improvement from his old one. The only downfall was that he had no eyes, and the head was ceramic and susceptible to being broken. Regardless, I purchased a pair of those joke glasses that have eyes attached to springs and they hang down. I tore the eyes off and did my best to tape them to the inside of Bob’s skull. These were his first set of eyes.
The head allowed for hats and other headgear to fit better on him. We tried ball caps, head bands, and other hats but the one that you see in this photo (pictured right) was probably his best. On loan from my room-mate in Saint John, this added to Bob’s complete look.
During that year in Saint John (I moved there to go to school), Bob’s frame had once again become unstable. A lot of the tape had come loose and his body was really falling apart. Once again, he was completely dismantled and rebuilt using most of the same pieces, just in a more sturdy way. Along with being rebuilt, Bob’s electrical cord was cut off, and the socket where the bulb used to sit was removed. This allowed for a better “neck” to be built and would support the ceramic head much better.
During this time, I was in a local band called “Rounded Edges”. We were going to perform live for the first time at a local high school. We thought it would be great fun if we brought Bob along, gave him a guitar, and made him part of the band for the show. The show was, less than successful, and even more damaging to Bob. It was that fateful night, that Bob lost his head in a crisis.
At the end of Rounded Edges’ performance, a fan walked out of the side of the stage, and then turned back. He accidentally tapped Bob and that tipped him towards the floor. There was nothing anyone could do. Bob fell flat on his face, which of course shattered into several hundred pieces, which covered the stage. What was Bob to do?
With no head to sit atop his body, Bob went into deep depression, and eventually lapsed into a coma. His friends, and parents, were very worried, but eventually, a donation would save his life.
Jason Hyslop had brought back a rubber skull from B.C. This skull was completely made of rubber, and even had a moving jaw bone. Along with that, it had a little hole under the jaw that would allow it to be propped up on something. Surgery was performed on Bob and the new head was attached by inserting a pen into the opening in his neck, and the other end into the hole inside the new skull. The head rest perfectly on Bob’s body, and much to our delight, Bob awoke a happy man.
However, Bob did have one remaining problem. He was blind as a bat. The “eyes” that had been put into his old skull had gone missing. Bob went for a long time with no real sight until Jennifer Klem (who wasn’t my wife at the time) was nice enough to paint a couple of round wooden balls into eyes. These were implanted into Bob’s eye sockets, and have been there ever since. Bob was so thrilled at being able to see again that he developed a bulge in his pants.
Since then, Bob has had a couple of T-Shirt changes and a bit more padding added in areas to even out some of his problems. Eventually, I would leave him for a year as I moved down to the USA for a job, and circumstances required me to leave him with my folks. He did well on his own and humoured some local kids during Halloween.
In spring of 2000, Bob was relocated to my new apartment, and placed in his own spot in the computer room. With a little help, he took up the sport of golf, got himself a new headband, and somehow lost his feet. It is suspected that during his time alone, he did some research on the internet on how to levitate his body. Bob has always been known for being into the very strange and weird, much like his old man.
Just recently (summer of 2001), Bob got a brand new make-over. He got himself a job as an assistant web-master of Quagmire Computer Services and currently helps maintain this very website you are enjoying now. Because of his work, he had to get rid of the old clothes and go for something with a more professional look. Thanks to his dad, he was able to get a new shirt, pants, jacket, and tie. He’s on his way to becoming a full fledged member of manikin society.
Bob had that old suit for a long time. Fact is, the suit was mine from grade 9. Actually it wasn’t even a suit it was just the jacket but it was the only “dressy” kind of clothes I really had at the time.
When me and Tamara moved into the house in Riverview, we had the perfect spot for Bob. We put him behind the bar in the basement and he became the unofficial bartender here at the house. It has to be love if Tamara let me keep Bob. What a woman.
To even add more to that, we decided that since we went with the Halloween theme thing for our wedding reception, Bob would come to the reception and guard the guestbook table. I always put Bob out on Halloween and the kids usually got a kick out of him. I figured since we did the whole Halloween thing, he had to be there. But, the suit didn’t match the whole look at feel of the decor were going to do for the reception so we decided to give him yet another wardrobe change. This time, he went for the old farmer look and I must say, it worked very well for the reception.
On July 29th, 2009, I finally decided to dismantle Bob. He had been with me for 20 years but life was moving forward and it was time to move on. You can read the post about his demise here.
So, that’s the story of Bob. You wanted to know everything about him, so now you do. We hope you have enjoyed this lovely tale, of my good friend Bob.