A New Yorker, like Shaggy

When I moved to NYC I was fully aware I had personality traits that needed work. I was an introvert. I was not graceful or quick when dealing with the public, or strangers, or even acquaintances for that matter. My default was awkwardness. And amongst New Yorkers this weakness of mine magnified. 

Shaggy, May 2006

This is something Shaggy has had no issues with since the day he was born. Before ever meeting Shaggy I would see him at Union shouting at his friends, and strangers, and whoever else, as Shaggy does. When he and I finally met, it was this aspect of him that really held my interest. He, like many born New Yorkers, have developed a different kind of personality dealing with the chaos of that city. A bold readiness for whatever may come around the next corner, and an instinctual way to handle said potential chaos with words, or whatever means necessary, then shrug it off.

A good example that stands out, one time early in our friendship we were hanging outside an entrance to the Starbucks on Astor. We were chatting while he smoked, and this grumpy elderly lady was walking towards us.
“Excuse me. You shouldn’t be standing right here. You’re blocking the door!” She scolded us both.

Without hesitation, Shaggy side-mouthed his cig, reached obediently to hold said door open. Pressing his back to the wall making room, he gestured with his other hand like her personal doorman so she could pass through safely. She wobbled past mumbling how much of a bother we both were telling us we should stand somewhere else. He apologized and gently shut the door behind her.
As soon as the door shut he continued on with whatever story he was telling without acknowledging what had just happened. To me it was an incredible moment. Here I was assuming he’d retaliate with rudeness, or something other than being completely accommodating and apologetic. And the way he did it was totally cool and amusing. 
“I did not expect you to handle that that way!” I told him. 

“Of course! We were in the way, and she’s right! Respect your elders.” and went on to explain how she was obviously a New Yorker. “That’s the way we talk to each other.”
How would I have handled that situation? I’m not sure. But I wouldn’t have been that cool. I wanted what he did to come that naturally.

Another time early on, Shaggy and I were hanging by The Cube on Astor and across the street these four ladies with their shopping bags were gabbing loudly. At first glance they appeared to be a couple daughters with their moms, and their voices were loud, laughing, conversing so they could be heard for blocks. They were oblivious to the spectical they were making of themselves. Shaggy says to me, watch this! And walks to them, skateboard in hand, striding along behind them like he’s showing these ladies around town.

It wasn’t even half a block when they noticed and all of their chatter came to an immediate stop. They glanced at each other saying with their eyes, “Who’s this weird little man walking with us?”
Their confusion and now, total silence was hilarious.

When they got to the corner they began hailing for a cab, to which Shaggy stood out even farther in front of them and hailed one down. They looked so bewildered assuming they now had to hail another one for themselves. I was amazed as I watched this all unfold. When the cab pulled up, Shaggy opened the back door and held it for the ladies inviting them to enter. He had the biggest grin on his face while all four of them squeezed into the back together, attempting to speed this along. As soon as they’d all filed in and shut the door, he opened the front passenger door and sat right next to the driver, closed it and looked straight ahead without saying a word. The ladies were beyond dumfounded! They’re smiles switching right back to the same shock and confusion from before. It was so fucking funny. I watched it all from the sidewalk, dazzled. These were not the actions of an introvert.
He sat there only a few seconds before finally getting out and saying through the windows, “Only kidding, ladies! Enjoy your day in New York!” and waved them goodbye. He came back to me laughing, “What’d you think of that Bobo?”

Anyone who knows Shaggy, these stories won’t shock you. But for me, it was so strange, so refreshing, and so enviable. To be that confident and bold. It’s punk rock. This is what being a New Yorker meant to me. 

Flash forward a decade or so. I’m walking by myself down St Marks crossing the street. At the middle of the road, a car is waiting for me so he can make a left turn, his front fender just a few feet from my legs. Then in a moment of road-rage he lurched forward and quickly braked just inches from my shins making me jump. Stepping forward, as he pulled behind me, I kicked my heel into the side of his car with my boot, and a couple steps more I look back realizing I’d dented his door. I thought to myself “He’s definitely going to stop and get out.”
I looked over my shoulder again, and sure enough he was pulling over and getting out shouting “HEY MOTHER FUCKER! COME HERE! YOU FUCKING HIT MY CAR!”

Now mind you, I’m carrying my laptop in a carrying case, when I turn around and start yelling “YOU WANNA HIT ME WITH YOUR CAR?! YOU WANT TO RUN ME OVER?! FUCK YOU!!”
I’m shaking my case in the air, pens and pencils flying out of its pockets onto the sidewalk. In my head I’m thinking “Am I actually ready to fight this guy?” But my blood is boiling and I’m stomping back towards him out of control. Whatever it looked like coming at him, it was enough for him to get right back into his car and drive away. 

I was shaking all over, and my art supplies were scattered all over the ground. Then I noticed there were people sitting at tables on the sidewalk who saw everything! And as I was picking up my stuff a couple of them came over to help asking if I was alright. It was the first time I’d ever exploded like this. I was shaking, barely able to control myself. As these people were handing me my pencils I was shaking my head. “Thank you. I don’t know what came over me. I’m okay. Thank you.”

Shaggy & Normal Bob Sept 2006, Union Square Park NYC

I went straight to Starbucks to calm down, and phoned Shaggy at work to tell him what happened. He laughed and said “The pressure of the city finally broke you! Congratulations! You’re a New Yorker now!”

I’m happy to say that from the years of hanging out with him, this quality did in fact rub off on me. Not to the extent of Shaggy’s, but I definitely changed.

I realize this thing may read like Shaggy’s died or something. He has not. In fact I just talked to him, and as always “We’re homies for life!” 

Shaggy, NJ 2024 w/neighbor’s garbage

How am I?

Jack Kerouac

Not gonna lie. It’s been hard adjusting happily to this reality here in West Michigan. I miss people. I miss friends, and strangers, and populated cities, and the stuff that happens in populated cities. Where I’m at it ain’t that way. The nearest city is Muskegon. It’s only been in the last couple years they had their first pride parade. Circling the event were pickups with American & Confederate flags flapping from their flatbeds while honking their horns. People here still speak fearfully of Antifa coming to vandalize our neighborhoods. The coffee shop I was going to regularly, Drip Drop Drink, which hung & sold my art, went out of business a few months ago. Lots of places around here have trouble staying open. My main getaway is the coffee shop. It’s where I most comfortably work, read, and relax. I have a new one now I go to every morning for a few hours to be around people and have human contact. My girlfriend Laurie has been helping me keep sane best she can through all this too.

Since my dad died last year, I’ve been more stuck than ever. My mom isn’t comfortable being left alone for more than a day. So leaving, even for short day or two getaways are all but impossible. Visiting a place (like Chicago or NYC) for a week or more just can’t happen, at least for now. So I’ve been doing the best I can with what I have to work with. My main focus in terms of business and creative has been supplying Jesus magnets to stores, and finding more that’ll sell them. I do have art projects I’ve been working on, and’ve been focusing a lot on perfecting my pen and ink skills.

I’ve been reading more than drawing lately. Rereading Richard Stark’s PARKER crime novels. I love this series. I’ve read almost 20 of the books in the last couple months. Gets my mind off of feeling lonely, overthinking, politics, religion and pointless self-pity voices that require severe ignoring. I really have nothing to complain about considering what’s going on in the world. I remind myself of that all the time.

I will say that having returned to bible-belt surroundings has reignited my anti-religious sentiments. Luckily I still have boxes of flyers to leave around town. And I have one store in Muskegon that ADORES and sells my Jesus Dressup magnets. Puzzles Oddities & Ends. So that’s cool.

Once again, trying to keep posting so y’all know I haven’t dipped out completely.
Can you believe I’ll be 55 in June?

New Final Justice JDU!

Yesterday was an exciting day for me because my new Final Justice JDUs finally arrived! And they’re cool as all hell!
Funny side note: I was on the phone with Shaggy last night and I told him exactly this, and you wanna know what his response was?
“You still doin’ that?”
Hell yeah! As long as they keep selling out, I plan to keep making more. And that’s what happened with both the BDSM and Final Justice JDUs.
The new version of Final Justice has finally been brought up to date with more villains (in addition to the old favorites), and its design is finally uniform with all my other sets. I don’t know why for so many years I could not settle on a consistent JesusDressup logo for the series, but now it is so. 

Final Justice Collector’s Series $25

There’s also some new deals too.  As always, you can get the top 6 for 66! Those are my 6 best selling Jesus Dressups for just $66.

Plus, if you’re like me and the Final Justice is your favorite, this is a no-brainer. You can purchase all 3 versions for only $25. This includes the first printing from 2006 with Tinky Winky, Marilyn Manson & Freddy Krueger, the 2012 version with Donnie Darko, and the new 2024 version with GG Allin, Jimmy Savile, Evil Knievel and Anton LaVey! The Final Justice Triple Threat Collector’s Series for $25.

There are obviously several repeat outfits amongst these, but it’s a rare moment in time where you can have every version of Final Justice JDU ever made while supplies last!

NoBS Radio Shows 2008 – 09?

DJ Snakeface & Normal Bob 2008

Over a decade and a half later NoBS Radio is finally found and accessible again! Episodes 10, 11, 12, 14, and 15 have all been restored. Episode 13 has yet to be located. I’ve also been having difficulty figuring out the exact dates each was recorded. They all seem to indicate late 2008 or early 2009, but I’m completely uncertain of this. Are you into solving mysteries on the web like this? If through clues in the shows, Wayback, or other methods, you can solve this. I am interested. In fact, I’m willing to offer a FREE set of JDU magnets of your choice for each show’s year, month, date? If you got the proof you can got some magnets! I’d love to hear from you.

Show #12 w/DJ Snakeface Nov 2008
• We talk about our Expelled documentary experience.
• We’re both terribly excited about meeting Yana Iguana at Snakemonkey and the help she provided for the site revamp. Speaking of Snakemonkey, check out Rachel Amodeo’s “What About Me?”
• Amazing Stranger’s Ramblin’ Bill and the Peepers page & Peepers Gothamist appearance.
Super Chics Blaze & Jen (Severed Moi), Brandy, Messy Stench discussed.
DJ Snakeface spins: “Diary of a Fetus” by Li’l Marky & The Feeders “Jesus Entering from the Rear”
DOWNLOAD: normalbobsmith.com/nobsradio/ep12.mp3 (43.2 MB)

Show #14 w/DJ Snakeface 2008, 2009?
• Talk about George Carlin intro & gf Normal Bobby Smith
• We listen to fan made show promos to win a contest of some sort.
• We read from and discuss the latest page of hate mail – page 374 & 375.
Super Chics additions and updates all around!
• Snakeface “Eat the Bible” challenge.
• Amazing Strangers Dog Molester updates, and I answer Bonnie’s questions about the Peepers and Normal Bob tells stories about his arguments with the Jesus freaks at Union Square Park.
• We discuss the back-masking scare in the 80s in heavy metal music
DJ Snakeface spins: Alice Donut “Lisa’s Father” & Sammy Hall “Hole in my Soul” &  G.G. Allin and the Murder Junkies “Highest Power”
DOWNLOAD: normalbobsmith.com/nobsradio/ep14.mp3 (66 MB)

Show #15 w/DJ Snakeface 2009 (a few glitches & hiccups in the recording, but mostly fine.)
• My visit to the 9th precinct after threat by Islamic org from page 380 of Hate Mail
• Normal Bob tells some stories about being approached in NYC becuz of my crucified satan tattoos.
The Toys R Us JDU story as told on page 382 of hate mail.
• Talks about Bob Smith USA and my 2nd visit to ASU.
Amazing Strangers pg 71 w/Freddy & Tony dancing, Clint Howard, Gravers, Junkies & Christians at the Square. • • • YouTube was not yet allowing for lengthy, hi-res vids so we’re asking for streaming service suggestions.  
DJ Snakeface spins: Alice Cooper “Second Coming” & Baby Lu-Lu “Jesus Loves Me” & King Missile “Jesus Was Way Cool”
DOWNLOAD: normalbobsmith.com/nobsradio/ep15.mp3 (68 MB)

And of course Episodes 10 and 11 can be viewed on the previous page. I’m unsure yet if there’s a need to find a permanent place for these on the main site somewhere, but I’ll be sure to announce it if that occurs.
I hope that these are enjoyed.

Artist, Atheist, Anthropologist