Category Archives: Blog

Thanks for 20 years

Jan 28, 2021
Subject: Thanks for 20 years

joy

Hi Bob,
I just wanted to tell you that my hard bumps in life have been softened by your genius. I broke free from the church in the 90’s and when I was crucified I found so much strength reading through your site.

I just wanted to say thank you for all the nights I didn’t know where to go and just read and read your site. I felt complicated and couldn’t sleep and found laughter and resolve for myself and the path I wanted. You are a true humanitarian. Thank you for publishing your journey. I mean it with all my heart.

Wishing you all the best,
Joy

Wow, Joy! I’m curious what exactly inspired you to write me now? Thank you so much. It does mean a lot to me to hear I made a difference. I have to admit I feel like I’ve been out of the game since I left NYC in 2015. Then add on the pandemic and middle of winter… I feel in limbo.

Do you remember how you first came across the site?
Normal Bob

 

Hmmm… I grew up in the bay area. My friends were nerds and all over the internet back when there were message boards and it was dial up. They sympathized with my bible thumping home life mismatch, and told me to read your site to feel like I’m not alone and see what normal people would say to the cultish things my parents would tell me. It definitely was all the empowerment I needed. Instead of crying or being traumatized after my parents tried to exorcise me at 17 I read NormalBob.

At 27 when a creep I was dating lied about being a hardcore born again and tried to evangelize me. I was so creeped out I couldn’t sleep… But I remembered NormalBob and read through all the things until well after the sun came up. Everything in the world felt okay again. I’m not exaggerating. You really did restore my balance and help me when religion was a scary monster and occasionally an evil cult.

It’s totally understandable that your inspiration and muse can wax and wane and your voice and passions might shift and change. You have lots to give. I’m sure you will find that again in a way that feels authentic. Maybe don’t try so hard. When you feel passion follow it without expectations. Be open.
There’s a million things to be opinionated about, or compassionate or passionate about during these days. Judgment is a way we are in overdrive because it keeps us safe and alive. Don’t feel pressure to be anything you were or did before. Now is uncharted.

It’s also okay if you were a humanitarian for a long time and you do other things these days. That’s still a lot to be proud of yourself for!

In the Netflix show Pretend It’s A City, Fran Lebowitz makes a lot of great points about why New York drives people to be pushy and opinionated. How every other city in America fails at that in comparison. Why that’s so valuable. You might want to check it out. She’s amazing!

Joy

I really appreciate you letting me in on all these personal details. And I have indeed continued to express myself however I see fit despite it not being as popular as what used to be. I’m doing my best to continue whatever dream it is I have for my future while being as authentic as possible.

 Would you be alright with me posting this conversation along with a picture of you (if that’s ok)? I think it’d interest people. I’d also be happy to send you a set of Jesus Dressup magnets, if only as a reminder on your fridge that it’s all to be laughed at.
Thank you!
Normal Bob

 

I would be honored to be published on Normal Bob Smith.
That really is full circle and rad.
Yes to Jesus dress-up!!!
Thanks so much,
Joy
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I fell through the Ice

Where I fell
Where I fell

For those of you who aren’t aware, I’m now living in Michigan, at my parent’s house on a lake, helping them as they both turn 90 in the next coupla years. I have a beautiful view of it out my bedroom window, only now it’s ice!

It’s about 1 mile lengthwise and a half a mile across from where we are to the opposite side. Yesterday my cousin was out ice fishing, so I grabbed my camera and the dog and went to say hello. I recorded my walk there with Shotzi sticking close because the ice boosts her sense of nervousness. Not mine though! In the summertime my dad offers $50 to any of the grandkids skilled enough to swim the half mile stretch. It’s a tradition each grandfather who’s lived here has offered. I’ve never swum across and gotten that $50 because I’m not the best swimmer. So I thought instead it’d be something to say I was the first one to walk it!

I periodically would turn on the camera and describe the situation, then switch it off again because my hands would get too cold. I didn’t bring gloves. It’s impossible to operate the camera with them.

As I got almost to the other side I remember saying, “I don’t think it’s official until I touch land!” And no memory of whether or not I switched it off as I approached those next couple steps. That’s when the ice gave way right out from under me. As my body dropped my very first thought was, “Oh God, it broke!” and I was now up to my shoulders in the lake, camera completely submerged. My head never went under. I remember raising my camera out and sliding it out on the ice in front of me. Shotzi was still trotting about, now in front of my face trying to figure out what was happening.

I tried grabbing at ice in front of me and it broke away. Then grabbed at the ice to my left and it broke away. “I’m in trouble! This is serious! I’m all alone!” I shouted, or thought very loudly. Then I remembered what to do. “Spread your weight!”

I spread out my arms, laid them on the ice to my right and I pulled myself up on onto it on my belly like a seal. I continued to drag myself a couple more feet, completely soaked. My heavy winter jacket, and all my clothes were now a 20 pound wet sponge on me. I stood and quickly started my panicked cold, wet walk back to the house.

“I need to get inside and dry ASAP! Are you with me Shots?” is the sentence I repeated about 40 times the whole trek back with the doggy at my feet. Thank god she didn’t fall in too! One of the scariest moments to follow was hearing ice crack again while walking back, realizing I weighed a lot more. I was soaked through my winter coat, my hoodie and my thermal shirt under that, as well as my pants, long johns, wool socks and boots.

Camera in Rice
Camera in Rice

Anyhow, I got home safely, into dry clothes and I actually poured water out of my boots! Then told the story many times sorting out how it all went down to my folks, my aunt, my cousin, and myself. My camera is presently buried in rice in a box. This is the second camera I’ve dropped in that stupid lake! I don’t plan to see how it’s doing until next week sometime. I’ll let you know if any quality footage remains.

My dad fell through the ice as a kid and he told me “Be prepared to not being able to sleep tonight because you’re running the story through your head again and again because that’s what happened to me.”

I told him I don’t think I’d be as affected as he was as a kid. I’ve had multiple dangerous things happen to me in my 50 years, so I probably wouldn’t have that experience. I was wrong. Last night I tossed and turned thinking about that black hole I fell into, and how lucky I am the dog didn’t fall in with me, imagining all the different outcomes. And today my body aches. My joints are tired and I’m delighted all I have to do today is watch the Packer game and eat pizza with my dad while the snow falls and covers the hole I made in the lake yesterday.

Shotzi & I in fire dpt hovercraft taken 2 days after I fell thru the ice
Shotzi & I in fire dpt hovercraft taken 2 days after I fell thru the ice

Trapped in my Head Xmas Specials

crucifieddevilv2I ain’t gonna lie. I’m starving for human interaction, and public settings, and human interactions in public settings. The potential for human interaction in public settings is where I relax and concentrate best. Sitting in coffee shops with my sketchbook is how this used to happen. I’ve also discovered that sitting alone in a room with my brain being the only thing telling me what I can and cannot do isn’t cuttin’ it. My brain, it seems, has been molded specifically to know exactly what to say to discourage creativity and confidence in myself. It’s only been other people that’re able to counter these voices. But that’s where we are right now. So to celebrate this fun fact of my brain’s self-destructive goals from now until Xmas every order going out gets extras, because fuck it.

Amber 2020
Amber 2020

Whether it’s just one postcard, or all 6 Jesus Dressups for $66! In an effort to spread even more smiles across the globe during this stupid pandemic I’m giving freebies of my choosing to all who buy stuff. My hope is that some sorta magic karma or some-shit’ll come back at me and we’ll all have a Merry Christmas!

1. Original JDU 4. BDSM JDU
2. Halloween JDU 5. Star Wars JDU
3. Final Justice JDU 6. Batman JDU
All 6 for $66!

I’ve got an illustrated poem book and signed art prints, which btw, if there’s any piece of my art anywhere you’d like signed and hanging on your wall I’ll supply it. I have an entire store of stuff I’d love to send you all. Please consider this!

David Lynch framed at Drip DropWhen I can FINALLY go out to draw to build my confidence again you can go see it on the walls of the Drip Drop Drink Cafe in Muskegon. I have this new David Lynch piece hanging there on display (with several others) that you hafta see! But until then I suppose I just need to fortify my patience more.

Thank you for your concern.

I’m Still Here!

Jesus Dressup crownhanger logoI’ve gotten enough inquiries lately about whether or not I still sell the Jesus magnets, or how I’m doin, or when I’ll be back at Union Square that I should probably give an update no matter how uneventful. Compared to everyone else this year, I’m fine out here in the middle of nowhere-Michigan away from all the rest of the world’s drama. And no offense, but not being in the city has its benefits too. So yes, I do indeed still have magnets for sale!
I have 6 different versions of Jesus Dressup available:
1. Original JDU
2. Halloween JDU
3. Final Justice JDU
4. BDSM JDU
5. Star Wars JDU
6. Batman JDU
You can get All 6 for $66!
I
 have all kinds of different stuff for sale besides those, so it’s worth taking a tour of my store to see what I’m talkin about.

Timbo Boot Pulley Demo 2020
Timbo Boot Pulley Demo 2020

I’ve just been drawing. Practicing my pen & ink skills atm. I drew this beautiful picture just the other day, for example. So don’t be worrying about me. I don’t presently have any plans to go to NYC, or anywhere for that matter. By spring maybe I’ll have something different to say regarding all that. But between you and me, 2020 has done quite a number on the business and the stores I do business with across the U.S. I’ve only had TWO stores order magnets for their shelves this year! Only 2. So I really really hope that 2021 has better news waiting for us all in this dept as well.

So again, I’m here, I got magnets, and I’m feeling generous, including little extras in people’s orders. Try me! I appreciate your business and audience to how little I’ve got to show here lately. Thank you for all that.