“A Grandma is at the shore in Florida with her little Grandson. The grandson is playing on the beach when a big wave comes and washes the kid out to sea. The lifeguards swim out, bring him back to the shore, the paramedics work on him for a long time, pumping the water out, reviving him. They turn to the Grandma and say, “We saved your grandson!” The Grandma says, “He had a hat!””
Bobby Gold was born to die a thousand slow deaths. His is the pain of a man without a country. Homicide is his confession. The confession of the man that can never be whole. He is the first through the door, the last to leave the gym. His mistakes must be rationalized or his coat of armor will become tin foil. He has an answer to every question even before you ask it, because he cannot afford to show an ounce of skin. He must convince them of his worth. He must be more than human or else they will see him. Then, they will know.
Bobby Gold, set to wander the desert into eternity. He must be exceptional or he is lost. He is the map of human misery. Bobby the Nomad. Every time he finds a river he drinks a mouthful of sand. He knows that you see him and he thinks you won’t let him forget it.
His is the story of the self-made man. What becomes of the self-made man when he stops creating? What if he gets tired? What if hasn’t the strength to work at the rate to which he has become accustomed? No one will catch him if his arms and legs cramp up. He knows this as surely as he knows how much time it will take him to get there 15 minutes early.
He looks around at people and instead sees the ocean. The ocean is still and never needs anything more than what is given. The ocean is a mystery to him. Who built it? How does it hide its shame? In his hands are a set of tools from which he must construct himself. From nothing. From the ground up. He must explain himself over and over. He recoils, overwhelmed by the fear that they’ll recognize the sadness in him. He explains and explains and explains never making the point that is so obvious to anyone who takes a moment to look. And he hopes his explanations will blind them to the truth. And he hopes they’ll see him and forgive his existence.
He looks enviously at those who have never had to work a day in their life to exist. Some people just wake up and “are”. He must invent. He must create. All of his actions reek of existential survival. Bobby is a reminder of how fast a man must run to not fall down. The faster he runs, the closer the oblivion he gets. It is gaining on him, always.
Bobby Gold, never to know the stillness and quiet of a dreamless sleep. Haunted by his visions of wholeness. Mocked by his own creations and talents. Bobby hears with a third ear. He is haunted by the stumbling footsteps of those who do not belong. The flesh on his neck stands at attention when he is near them. He doesn’t need files and he doesn’t need a map. He knows the look. He is blessed with the curse of understanding. As like is drawn to like, as “a dog goes back to its own vomit”, as pain seeks out pain. He is them and they are he. Outcasts. Alone in a crowded universe.
Bobby Gold, born to see what people pray to have the strength to ignore. Bobby the Outcast. Bobby the Obscure. Bobby the Stranger Among Strangers. Bobby the Donkey. Capable of so much, but unable to hide the absurdity of his being. Imploring the world to see him for what he does and not what he is. Doomed by the pain of the man who can never be more than he can build.
Recently, I have developed a bizarre fascination with donkeys. They are odd-looking creatures with funny ears that make terrifyingly amusing noises. What’s not to love? I have spent the last few months of my life reading extensively about donkeys and have discovered several incredible, mind-boggling facts that I’d like to share with you so maybe you can find the same feeling of joy and love that I feel when I see one walking down the street.
1. DONKEYS HAVE 14 STOMACHS!!!!
That’s right! Your average donkey is able to consume 40 pounds of carrots in less than an hour thanks to all of these wondrous organs. A donkey can also generate additional stomachs throughout their lifetime. A donkey in Uzbekistan is the current worlds record holder with a reported 59 stomachs. How about that!?!?!
2. DONKEYS CAN LIVE FOR UP TO 3,000 YEARS!!!!!
Not only are donkeys loveable, but they are durable as well. The donkey that belonged to Plato, affectionately known as Rufus, is still with us today. Donkeys are able to regenerate any cells that die within a span of minutes. Nessie, the world’s oldest donkey, just had her 3,357th birthday. Back in the 1960s, the U.S. Army experimented by dropping 500 donkeys out of an airplane at 30,000 feet into occupied Czechoslovakia. Only one was slightly injured. The rest were healthy and immediately able to produce milk for American soldiers who were bravely battling the Germans in World War II.
3. DONKEYS ARE DESCENDED FROM LIONS AND HORSES!!!
Sure, lions and horses seem like a strange match, but hey, love is a many splendored thing! If you mate these two beasts you will produce a donkey. As crazy as it sounds, lion ranchers in New Zealand have been mating these two types of animals for the past 20 years. As a result, the donkey population has tripled. And as you well know, more donkeys mean more happiness for everyone!
4. DONKEYS CAN GROW TO THE SIZE OF ELEPHANTS!!!!
It’s true! When properly fed a balanced diet of oatmeal cookies and orange sherbet, donkeys can grow to the size of full-grown elephants. This can mean serious trouble for those who keep donkeys as house pets. Sure, tiny baby donkeys can be cute, but a full-grown mammoth jack donkey can grow to the amazing height of 160 hands (53 feet tall). An angry mammoth jack donkey can go on a rampage and destroy an entire village causing massive damage and severe injuries. So BE CAREFUL!
5. SIXTY FIVE PERCENT OF DONKEYS ARE ACTUALLY ROBOTS!!!!
It’s sure hard to tell the difference between a robot donkey and a real one. Here’s a tip, if your donkey starts going wild during a lightning storm, it’s probably a robot. If your donkey gets a cut and begins leaking oil, it’s probably a robot as well. Robot donkeys were first built during The Great Donkey Shortage of 1927 and have been with us ever since. They are just as friendly and good-natured as donkeys, but often have additional fun options like the ability to blend smoothies in their mouths. If owning a regular donkey seems financially out of reach, you just might want to consider picking up one of these wonderful mechanical creatures at your local Wal-Mart or certified Robot Donkey outlet.
6. DONKEYS CAN TELL TIME!!!!
Ever notice how a donkey sleeps at night and runs around playfully during the daytime? Can you guess why? It is a known fact among donkeyologists that these wonderful beasts can roughly tell what time of day it is based on whether the sun is out or not. They sure are smart!
7. ONE IN EVERY TWENTY DONKEYS ARE BORN WITH THE ABILITY TO SING!!!!
They are known for that ridiculous braying noise they make, but did you know that 1 in every 20 donkeys, if properly trained, can become remarkable singers. These special donkeys are born with unique vocal chords that allow the donkeys voice to create beautiful melodies. The Turkmen Donkey Choir, a group of talented donkeys from Turkmenistan who travel around singing old Rogers and Hammerstein show tunes, have performed to packed houses around the world and even had an audience with the Pope! Recently, a first in donkey musical history took place when a jenny named Roberta starred in the 2007 Metropolitan Opera performance of Turandot. She received rave reviews and a bouquet of carrots from the audience. Oh what a night!
8. SHERBET IS MADE FROM DONKEY BONES!!!!
Next time you are settling down after a hard day of work to a heaping bowl of everybody’s favorite delicious treat, remember to thank a donkey. If it weren’t for the Kraft Corporations decision back in 1953 to mix vanilla ice cream, ginger and donkey bones, sherbet would never have been discovered. Sherbet, once only believed to be a wonderful dessert, has recently been used successfully in medical trails for the treatment of Exploding Head Syndrome. So, not only do donkeys make people happy, they might just save some lives.