Surrounding myself with experts provides a great compass. Remaining “teachable,” I question but follow Michael on finance and Walt on cards. I accept brutal counsel from the Bermuda Triangle of Wardrobe (Meredith, Stacy, Tammy). And… more than ever, when it’s matters of the opposite sex, I heed the teachings of Brother Bob.

There’s a saying in recovery: Nothing changes if nothing changes. These days I listen. Therefore, as my friend turns 62, I honor he that has forgotten more than I can ever know. I salute this expert in his industry, this sage of sexuality— truly the Maimonides of the female psyche. And I thank him for his guidance, the wisdom of which I’m only now beginning to appreciate.

Bob doesn’t mince words. His positions, cultivated through years of research, are precise. As such, when addressing my foibles, he rarely holds back:
“Major mistake,” he’ll assert. (Never just that HE’D have done differently). “Major mistake.” But for his warmth, it is a mantra spoken with authority not unlike Wieder’s mound-growl to “Get back behind the plate.”

I listen.

What follows then are highlights of his collective enlightenment: The World According To Bob, the world I often ignored.

It was the late 90’s and the lesson was honesty:

Bob: “How was your date with that new girl?”
Bruce: “Had a nice time…”
Bob: “And?”
Bruce: “Didn’t even kiss her goodnight. Doesn’t matter—I’m not calling her.”
Bob: “MAJOR MISTAKE. Always let ‘em know you’re a man.”

Then there was Bobby on guilt, (maybe 2000):

Bruce: “Should I feel bad about being intimate with her?”
Bob: “No.”
Bruce: “What if she asks how I really feel? Should I tell her?”

More Bob on guilt, (circa 2004):

Bruce: “Not sure I want to sleep with her. I know already it will be ‘One and done’’”
Bob: “Always sleep with them in even amounts. Once is offensive. They’ll think they did something wrong. Twice tells her that while you may not have been into her, at least you respected her.”
Bruce: “What if I really don’t want a rematch?
Bob: “MAJOR MISTAKE. Twice, I’m telling you.”

Dialogues didn’t have to be shallow. Often we shared feelings, raw feelings. When Rochelle threw me to the curb I was devastated. Ripped apart. Truth be known, it was Bob’s insight that cleared the wreckage:

“Your problem is you never dated,” he said. “You married your first girlfriend. MAJOR MISTAKE.” (Somehow he made sense). “Having someone tell you they’re (sic) moving on is life. Get over it.”

I did.

Bob’s mishigos has been exceeded only by his true concern for me. This is borne out often with Stuart. Solicited or not, our friend expounds, Stuey laughs and I absorb missives of semi-tough love.

“You need to stop analyzing…”
“Are you sure she’s out of your system?”
“You don’t have to fall in love on the first date.”

He is my guru, Bob is—still attuned to the nuances of today:

Like the time I thought I was going to have sex with this girl I’d been out with.
“What’s the rule on protection?” I asked him. “If we’re at her place the first time should I bring?”
Pausing momentarily, he leaned over the booth at Corky’s:
“Well,” he pronounced, “Clearly it’s her responsibility. Like in softball. The home team always pays the umpires. She should.”
“So you’re saying I shouldn’t?” I asked. “Can I assume she knows the rule?”
“MAJOR MISTAKE,” urged my friend. “You don’t want nothing to happen ‘cause she’s stupid. Always be prepared.”

It is his unique prism that I marvel at, cling to. Guys joke here and there, teasing Bob’s unparalleled views. We laugh each December, knowing he sits by the phone, waiting for a call to replace Dick Clark. But we never, ever, doubt his sincerity, the depth of his friendship, or that he cares. That, you see, would be a MAJOR MISTAKE.

3 Responses to “ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER”

  1. Jackie says:


  2. Aunt Helen says:

    I disgree with Jackie. I loved it.

  3. bob says:

    I take this as a complement from a close friend. I think I I get it. It is you who have given me advice in areas of much more importance over the years. It hasn’t gone unnoticed.
    PS who cares what Jackie thinks? Did Jackie even go to Rowland?

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