Rob Smith, AKA the Acidman.
Today, June 26, marks the first anniversary of Rob Smith’s death. His yahrzeit, if you will.
Rob, of course, was known to the Bloggy Community as Acidman, a name that was appropriate not only because of his past employment in a sulfuric acid works, but also because of his acerbic wit and no-holds-barred approach to blogging. Or, as his buddy Catfish might put it, blodging.
I first spoke to Rob in the summer of 2005. I had no idea what he’d be like in a telephone conversation, but instead of the fire-breathing dragon one might expect from (some of) his writing, his voice was that of a pleasant, soft-spoken gentleman. We had a very enjoyable conversation...
...and a few months later, I finally met Rob face-to-face in Helen, Georgia. It was at the 2005 gathering of the Jawja Blown-Eyed Blodgers (another Catfishism), a gathering that had its origins several years before in an impromptu get-together (initiated, of course, by Rob) at Blood Mountain. The Acidic One was not in good shape at the time, to put it mildly; he had traveled a long ways toward drinking himself to death. But seven months later, when I saw him in Austin, he had turned things around 180 degrees. He was sober and lucid, his writing sharper than ever.
Rancho Alegre, May 6, 2006.
Less than a week after the Austin meet, SWMBO, the Mistress of Sarcasm, and I joined Rob for dinner at Rancho Alegre, the little Cuban place just off Abercorn on the southerly side of Savannah. It was a very enjoyable evening...and, unbeknownst to us at the time, our final meeting. Less than four weeks later, Rob was gone.
Shakespeare famously said (in the guise of Marcus Antonius) that “The evil that men do lives after them / The good is oft interred with their bones.” In Rob’s case, both the good and evil were laid out there for the whole world to see. If it wasn’t right in front of your nose, you could dig for it in the Archives. And it wasn’t always pretty.
But Rob’s legacy - the good stuff - wasn’t interred with his bones...or, more accurately, ashes.
He left behind two beautiful children, children who, it is to be hoped, have inherited Rob’s gifts of language and music.
He left behind a pile of Graphica Electronica, all of which continues to sit out there on the Inter Webby-Net. There are days that I will get more referrals from Rob’s site - still! - than anywhere else. It’s a testament to the power of his writing (and the persistence of his readers).
He left behind recordings of his music, music that still brings a tear to my eye when I listen to it.
And, most significantly, he left behind a motley group of Online Journalists whose greatest shared bond is their friendship with one Rob Smith...and their willingness to do as Rob did: pursue a ceaseless quest for adoration from people who don’t know them. I’m proud to be one of them.
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