Thursday, January 29, 2009

His Private Physician

I want to share with you my first and favorite Eskimo Bob memories. Let's start at the end and work backwards. It'll be fun!

Bob called me this morning and asked me to post a blog. At first, I thought he was asking me to post a blog about him on my blog and I wouldn't put it past him if this were the case (egomaniac). However, upon further clarification it became clear that Bob was asking me to log into his account and post a blog for him. Again, the waters of perception were still murky and I assumed he had drafted something but was ill and wanted me to do the work for him. I asked Bob if he was sick (he sounded like my friends in high school who've been smokers for 15 years) and he replied, "No, I just woke up." Normally, I would have felt embarrassed at my faux pas, but I'm dead inside.

Robert proceeded to give me his password and a surge of emotion ran through me at the prospect of having unfettered access to Bob's blog. I sprang from my seat and began pacing my bedroom, such was my excitement. I made sure that my assignment was indeed what I thought it was and proceeded to plan my assault.

Alas, I was pressed for time. So, I quickly found a random picture on the internet and emblazoned the blog under its new moniker. I quickly and hastily made bizarre and random changes at will. I did my best to keep things PG because I was typing whatever came into my head and didn't have time to censor.

The result? Beauty in form and function. Kiss the ring.

Bob spent a night at my home a few years ago while visiting his in-laws in Utah and we spent the entire time playing video games and laughing like little boys. It was nice to see that despite both our advancing ages and waistlines, we still had the ability to channel the juvenile ten year old who lives somewhere in the back of our minds, by the river, behind the dumpster at Arby's.

After our missions, Bob and I returned to Ricks College (BYU-Idaho) to finish our degrees. I think we had enjoyed our time there before our missions and we were still too dumb to go anywhere else. I'm happy to report that Bob is now smart and runs his own business. I work less than part time.

Our return to Ricks post-mission was both interesting and not without incident. I was recently married and living in wedded bliss. OK, I was young and I could have sex without guilt and the forfeit of my covenants. Again, I was newly married and Bob would often stop by (I should mention that the aforementioned sex was strictly between my wife and I and did not involve Bob whatsoever. This was Ricks, not BYU).

Why did he stop by so often? Friendship? Perhaps. I think the visits had more to do with hunger pangs than anything else. It was as if I had adopted a stray. Bob was so hungry that once he even ate a carob bar my mother had sent me (she lives under the delusion that I somehow enjoy carob while in truth I would rather pierce my tonsils).

It was also during this period of time that Bob experienced one of the most traumatic events of his life. He came home to find his roommate naked. On Bob's bed. Face down.

Take a minute. Drink it in. Your fat roomie. Naked. On your bed. Face down.

During our service as missionaries, Bob and I kept in contact. Most people send pictures of converts, companions, etc. Bob sent me pictures of shaved cats, odometers of his mission car going well over the legal limit, and modern art sculptures that resembled poop.

During the first month of my mission, while riding my bike on a very busy street in Las Vegas, I heard my name. No, this wasn't a Samuel and Eli moment. Much to my shock and amazement, a car pulls up and out jumps Bob. Talk about synchronicity. Bob had talked his roommate Scott (there are stories galore we could share about Scott Elbert) into driving him to L.A.
While going through Vegas and knowing that I had recently been called to that mission, Bob decided to take some time and made Scott drive around in the hopes of seeing me. What a guy...I mean Bob. Nothing against Scott, but what are the odds?

One pleasant spring evening, during our first year at Ricks, Bob entered my room and stated that he was bored. I had no solutions to his dilemma and I had homework to do, so I tried to dismiss him. No such luck. Bob then uttered something that will always endear him to me: "Hey, do you want to go make ourselves sick and throw up?" Yes. Yes I did. And yes we did.

Bob's folks had prepared him for his first year of college by providing him with a solid supply of soap. A 24 pack, to be exact. One evening, our roommate Nathan Merle Leroy Tice (NMLT) asked Bob, "Hey Bob, can I borrow a bar of soap? I ran out. I'll pay you back." Bob granted his wish and gave Nathan Merle Leroy Tice what he asked for.

Fast forward 6 weeks.

While lying on our beds, engaged in deep discussion, I glanced up to where Bob's 24-pack of soap had been and asked, "Bob? Where's your soap?" 6 bars remained of the 24. Notice NMLT had asked for "a bar" of soap? In the course of six weeks, NMLT had used 18 bars of soap. That's roughly 3 bars of soap per week. Our theory was that NMLT was unfamiliar with soap and what to do with it, so once in the shower, he placed it on the drain and played with it like a retarded boy with a bunny until it dissolved. How else can you explain it? 3 bars a week? Come on!

Bob was roommates with Nathan until he played Scott in a game of cards and the loser had to room with Nathan. Scott didn't stand a chance. I've never seen a person so focused and determined to bend the will of fate as Bob was that night. Freedom was in sight and instead of a crazy, night terror-driven West Virginian, Bob would rather room with a moody, socially awkward, theatre majoring Canadian. Bob won and moved out that night.

Late one night as Bob and I sat in our living room, bored and seething with rage at the cruel hand fate had dealt us in assigning us our roommates, we noticed Nathan's freshly folded laundry sitting on the couch. We both sensed the opportunity but were in doubt as to how does one seek vengeance upon a roommate with only his laundry? Our solution: spray it with water and stick it in the freezer. Next morning, Nathan found his clean, but frozen, britches by the ice cream.

My first memory of Bob was pulling into the Teton Chalet parking lot (FYI: The Teton Chalet had neither Tetons nor a Chalet of any kind. What it did have was a block of 8 units and a trailer that housed our obese landlords and their spawn) during the summer of '93. Bob's family had rented an RV and the entire Petersen clan was aboard to escort Bob to college. I vividly recall driving by the parked RV and seeing a little Eskimo boy peering at me from behind a curtain. I later discovered that this was Bob's younger brother. I met Bob face to face the next day. I had never met anyone from Alaska and being from Canada, I had high hopes that I would have more in common with someone from Alaska than the potato farmers of eastern Idaho. Well, little did I know that Bob wasn't an ordinary native Alaskan. He's crazy, I'm loopy, and we became fast friends.

Ta da.

Oh, the odds are 765,981 : 1. Just thought I'd mention that in closing.


Pearl said...

This explains a lot.

darsden said...

Excellent story and felt I was right there riding the bike with ya. BYU, had friends go there. Very IMpressed! Impressed myself by finishing this novel in one day.

I could changed the names from you guys to derfina and me... :-)