I still remember when I found out. I had just gotten home, and was walking to the front door, when Cap'n Jim called me. He knew that I'd met Rob and got along with him, and wanted me to find out from a friend rather than reading it online. I don't know if I could thank him enough for that.
So today, when I finally got some time to do more than just post, I went to Cap'n Jim's blog and found out that I was two days late and more than a dollar short. And reading it today was just as painful as reading it a year ago. It's like a punch in the gut. There are some people who meant so much to so many people that you feel their loss even after time fades. I still hit GutRumbles on a regular basis, because Sam is reposting a lot of Rob's stuff, normally about a post a day. And reading his stuff again, you can still see that old coot banging away on his keyboard with a cigarette smoldering next to him.
What a felt when I first heard the news still holds true today.
The other people know that you don't get rich, or famous, or achieve greatness by sitting on your front porch bragging about what you did in highschool. You find the highest peak you can, and start climbing it, because the reward at the top of that peak is worth all the risks involved. And if you only made it halfway there, you can at least look down at all the miserable pukes who didn't even try, and pity them. Or tell them where the hand-holds are. Or both. What if the Wright Brothers said "Nah, too risky!'? What if the Pilgrims said "You know, Greenland should be good enough don't you think?" What if Christopher Columbus had said "Turn it around boys, it's too risky."? But they didn't. They were the other people.Somewhere, that old cracker is laughing his ass off, surrounded by nekkid wimmen on a sunny beach.
Rob Smith was one of those other people. You read his blog, and you didn't know whether to curse him out or laugh out loud. You looked at the things he did in life, and you had one of two thoughts. It was either A) "Oh hell, I wish I'd done that!" or B) "Did you mean to fuck it up that bad, or was it an accident?"
Never once did you read his writing and go "Meh. Whatever."
Rob had written steadily for years. He influenced more people than even he knew. And when the bullshit was flying, you could always count on Rob to cut through the crap and lay out the truth as he saw it. Even if you didn't like what he presented, you knew he wasn't giving you a line of BS. He had a hell of a life, both good and bad, and towards the end of it managed to beat down his personal demons. Again, life on his terms. There wasn't anything that was going to control him if he had anything to say about it.
Rob wrote the way people should write. He was popular because he not only put his heart out on his blog, he made sure you could understand how he felt and why he felt that way. He was a better communicator than most of the intellectuals today could even dream of being.
Dammit, Rob, you're going to be missed. This planet needs more of people like you, not less.
But Godspeed, brother.