On January 17, 1950, 11 men stole more than $2 million from the Brinks Armored Car Depot in Boston.
Twenty-seven years later, on January 17, 1977, convicted murderer Gary Gilmore stood before a firing squad in Draper, Utah and uttered his very last words: “Let’s do it.”
And 28 years after that, on January 17, 2005, I wrote my first post for the Luna Park Gazette.
“All right, let's get this show on the road,” I wrote, back when I had brilliantly called the thing “Rob’s Blog.”
“This is my first post on my first blog. I am 47, marooned in Brooklyn without a job, wife or children. Most of my big dreams have crashed and burned like the Hindenburg, but that hasn't stopped me from climbing on the next bag of hot air and heading back into the sky.”
Cheery little bugger, wasn’t I? A bit little wordier than Gary Gilmore, too, but then I didn’t have a firing squad taking aim at me.
Eight years have gone by since that first post. I’ve reached out for many bags of hot air, and I’m still here on earth. And that’s not so bad.
Back then I wouldn’t have seen daylight if you had shoved me into a rocket and fired me straight into the sun. I had no hope, no joy, and no plan—except, apparently, to be as miserable as possible.
I was a middle-aged man living in my parents’ house with my elderly father who had been recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
George Bush, whom history will judge as the worst president in U.S. history, was occupying the White House at the time and gleefully destroying this country’s economy, credibility, and spirit.
American lives were being shredded in Iraq just so war profiteers could line their pockets and anyone who objected to this blatant abuse of power was immediately branded a traitor—not to our faces, of course. Those flag-waving hemorrhoids never had the guts for that kind of confrontation.
I'm Down Here!
I never thought anyone would read my posts, but gradually I started getting comments and making contacts. I got together with a bunch of Brooklyn bloggers for a series of great events.
“When I first started blogging,” I once told a roomful of like-minded individuals, “I felt like a man lost in the jungle who fires a flare gun into the sky in hopes of being rescued.”
And rescued I was.
I’ve racked up 545 posts over the years and I’ve made contact with people from all over the world: Israel, England, Dubai, and Canada.
I’ve met some great people, both online and in the flesh, who listened to my problems and offered me comfort and advice.
I eventually found a job—a couple of them, actually. My father died in 2007, we sold the house, and I’ve got a very nice apartment a short distance away.
No wife or children, but I do have two beautiful nieces whom I dearly love.
I still haven’t reached a lot of my goals, to be honest, but I’m in a better frame of mind now than I was back in ’05. At least I sure as hell hope so.
I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be blogging. I’ve got fiction to work on and it seems that blogs are being crowded out of the online picture by the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
Why bother trying to write something when you can tell the world about the most routine moments of your life in 144 characters?
But I’m going to stick with blogging until something better—and more lucrative--comes along.
I’ve still got more stories to tell, more ideas I want to share. There are people I want to stay in touch with and more people I want to meet. I've still plenty of flares that I'm just dying to light up.
And, look, there’s another bag of hot air up in the sky and its heading this way.
Come on. Let’s do it.