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April 2010

All Over the Map

by Rob Grace

April 21, 2010


Nearly 100 people in the Batesville area were temporarily blinded when a local resident emerged from his residence wearing shorts.

Rob Grace, 43, was first spotted getting into his vehicle by Ethel Stencil, 67, of Thida, according to police reports.  Stencil told authorities the whiteness of Grace’s legs burned into both of her eyes as she was driving past his residence.  She immediately collided with a tractor-trailer carrying chickens after losing her sight.

“It was horrible,” said Ms. Stencil in a telephone interview from a local hospital.  “It was like staring into the sun for five minutes, only it happened in a flash.  I just remember this somewhat goofy-looking fella walking to his car, then I looked down and saw these awful, skinny white legs.  The next thing I felt was this burning white sensation in my eyes.  Then I must’ve hit that chicken truck.”

The driver of the chicken truck, Jim Guy Bob Bilkin, 34, of Batesville, was also blinded by the sight of Grace’s legs.  Upon arrival at the scene, authorities also noted that over 250 of Bilkin’s chickens were bleeding profusely from their eyes.

“The retinas in poultry are extremely sensitive,” said Dr. Lansington Butterworth of the Poultry Science Institute at the University of Kentucky.  “Upon sudden exposure to bright light, the eyes in chickens can literally explode.”

Interim Sheriff Alan Cockrill told a reporter that Grace left his residence and went for a walk at Riverside Park.

“That’s when calls to police dispatch really blew up,” said Sheriff Cockrill.  “We had reports of people all along the river walk blinded, vehicles crossing the White River bridge were zooming off into the water because the drivers were blinded, and a couple of pilots flying over town reported seeing Mr. Grace’s legs from their cockpits.  Some people thought an alien had invaded because the glow from Mr. Grace’s legs was completely otherworldly.”

Members of the Independence County SWAT team were called to the river in order subdue Grace, who – according to witnesses – was unaware of the havoc his legs were causing.

“Last thing I remember was seeing this white, white dude listening to his iPod walking along the river,” said Peter K. Tucknose, 22, of Cave City, who was also temporarily blinded in the incident.  “Dude was in his own little world.”

The SWAT team, wearing specially enhanced BluBlocker sunglasses, managed to tackle and subdue Grace near the park stage.  His legs were immediately covered, said Sherriff Cockrill.

“I was really embarrassed,” said Grace after the incident.  “I mean, I knew my legs were a little white, but not that white.  Guess I ought to hit the tanning bed, huh?”

Sheriff Cockrill noted that authorities were still determining if charges should be brought against Grace for exposing his legs in public.

“I really don’t think we have a law on the books that addresses this kind of nightmare,” said a source with Prosecuting Attorney Don McSpadden’s office.  “But common sense should just tell you that you never – ever – walk out of the house with legs as white as Mr. Grace’s.  That’s just not right.”

Sheriff Cockrill also noted something else troubling about the incident.

“After we took Mr. Grace into the sheriff’s office, he was able to uncover his legs because the sun was not reflecting off his unnaturally white skin,” said Sheriff Cockrill.  “And when we got a good look at his legs, we realized he hardly had any hair on the legs as well.  It was almost like he shaved his legs.  Those things were really spooky looking.  If Mr. Grace ever shows those legs of his again in public, he’s going to have to explain himself.”

“I don’t shave my legs,” said Grace.  “Let’s make that clear.  I just use a little Nair now and then when I wear short shorts.  No big deal.

Upon saying this, a reporter immedialy threw up.


All Over the Map

by Rob Grace

April 14, 2010


If I were in my late 80s or 90s and writing a column today, I’m wondering if it would look something like this:

Boy, these kids today…with their intranets and computer machines and telephones they can carry around in their baggy jeans…well, let me tell you mister, they are going to be the ruin of this country.

When I was a kid, we did computin’ the old fashion way: with a pencil, eraser and ledger! We did mailin’ with an envelope, paper, pen and a stamp! We used a telephone that was attached to a wall! And our slacks were respectable because we used these things that stores apparently don’t sell these days: a belt or suspenders!

And let me tell you something else, mister. A baseball cap was worn by baseball players like Ted Williams or Mickey Mantle. And it was worn with the bill facing forward, not off to the side, or around the back. These kids look ridiculous with their hats like that! Where are their parents when these kids walk out the door looking like a malnourished, lop-side-headed delinquent? I’ll tell you where those parents are…well, hang on…where was I?

Oh, hell, I forget! See what you made me do!

And what’s with all that music blaring from their vehicles? Are they deaf or something?!? My hearing aid goes nuts with these hooligans pulling up next to me with that bumping and screaming music! I’m trying to listen to my Ray Conniff Singers 8-track tape, and then these kids pull up in their crazy looking vehicles Mommy and Daddy bought ‘em, and I can’t hear a damn thing! If Ray Conniff heard the nonsense devil music these kids are listening to, he’d really blow his top! I blame it on Elvis!

When I was their age, I was working 13 jobs! I was delivering milk at 3 in the morning! Then, I’d be rolling and throwing the newspaper! Then, I’d walk four miles to the bus stop for school! Then, I’d be laying brick – at school! Then, I’d walk to Harrisburg and pick cotton! Then, I’d I hunt and kill wild bears with my own two hands! Then, I’d skin the bear! Then, I’d butcher the bear! Then, I’d prepare the bear meat for winter! Then, I’d go ask my Daddy why we had to eat bear meat in the winter because bear meat is tough and somewhat bitter, and “He’d say, ‘Well, look at you. Mr. Rockefeller! What are you complaining about? When I was your age, I was working 24 jobs, and all we could eat was donkey! We’d only eat bear meat for special occasions! Yet, you get to eat it all winter! I swear, with kids like you, this country is doomed!’”

I miss my Daddy. He was killed in an unfortunate incident when he had drunk too much moonshine and bet his friends he had the strongest abs in the world. When he said, “Go ahead and run that steamroller over my abs and see what happens,” well, mister, his abs and other insides squished right out through his mouth and eyeballs and ears.

Now, see what you done did. You made me all weepy thinking about my Daddy and his unfortunate death by steamroller.

I like applesauce.

Where was I?

Oh…yeah. I tell you how I know for sure this country is doomed. You ever seen this Lady Gaga crazy woman? One day, my remote control to my Zenith became all messed up. There I was watching Lawrence Welk re-runs, and I had to lift up my bottom from my recliner to adjust my inflatable seat the doctor give me for my bottom problems, and the damn remote fell off and accidentally switched to some crazy insane picture movie with this Lady Gaga. She was wearing a wig made of telephones! Telephones! Mister: I’ve been a Democrat all my life, but this here Obana fella is allowing freaks like Lady Gaga to screw up my Zenith, and I tell ya, the country is going to hell because of it!

Oh. I’m tired. It’s already three in the afternoon, and I’m not even in my pajamas.

I best be getting ready for bed.

Thank you for reading, and pray for our country. Pray these kids these days get some sense knocked into their heads.

You know, when I was the age of these kids, I was working 24 jobs! I was delivering the paper at three in the morning! Then, I’d lay brick at the milk factory! Then, I kill a donkey for breakfast, but I always hated donkey meat because it was tough and somewhat bitter, and I’d complain to my Daddy, and he’d say, “Well, look at you. Mr. Rockefeller! What are you complaining about? When I was your age, I worked 13 jobs and all we could eat is bear!”

And…um…this was about the time of the unfortunate steamroller incident that took my Daddy’s life, and see…he had really strong abs…yawn…

Boy, I’m tired.

I like applesauce.



All Over the Map

by Rob Grace

April 7, 2010


I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but last week’s “All Over the Map” was not my last. I’m still here.

I know this will surprise many of you, but that was an attempt at an April’s Fool joke. Yet, I was approached at least five or six times last week by reasonable adults who actually took the column seriously. Some people really thought I was going to quit my job, move to New York City and study to become a mime.

In the words of our President, let me be clear: I hate mimes. I want to punch them. Forget health care reform, our leaders should be discussing ways to outlaw friggin’ mimes.

I almost did punch a mime once. Years ago, I was walking with a bunch of folks on Bourbon St. in New Orleans. This mime comes up, starts doing his irritating mime crap, and most of us politely smile and keep on walking. The mime quickly walks ahead of us, stops us, and starts doing his irritating mime crap again. Now, only a couple of us politely smile, and we all walk around him while he’s still doing his irritating mime crap. Finally, he – again – walks ahead of us, stops us, and starts doing his irritating mime crap – this time in a more frustrated manner. Now, no one smiles. We are aggravated. We walk around him again.

And as he sees this, the mime commits the cardinal sin of mimes – he SPEAKS.

“S#@%,” he yells as we walk away. “You people are RUDE!”

No, I wanted to say. We just hate friggin’ mimes.

Speaking of irritating, I’ve found it’s very easy to irritate my 14-year-old daughter.

For instance, I’ve been picking up Hannah for and from school in my company vehicle. It’s a 10-year-old Chevy Suburban. The fact that it’s a Suburban doesn’t bother her. It’s the huge decals affixed to the side that read CLASSIC ROCK 93 KZLE that rankle her.

When I drop her off or pick her up in this rig, I have to be as far away from school as possible.

If I park within a football field’s length of the school entrance, I always get a comment from her like, “Uhhhhh, goooosssh! Dad!”

My music also irritates her. Classic Rock 93 KZLE is always playing in my vehicle. When she gets inside, usually the first thing she says – besides, “When are you getting a new car, Dad?” – is: “Put the radio on a station that plays good music.” Which is code for the pop station, 99.5 Hits Now.

Naturally, when she says this, I turn the radio to the country station, Arkansas 103.3 KWOZ.

“This one?” I’ll ask.

“Uhhhhh, goooossh! Dad! No!” she’ll say. “The station that plays the good music.”

“Oh, this one then,” I’ll say as I switch to the easy listening radio station.

“Uhhhhh, goooossh! Dad! No!” she’ll say. “Ninety-nine five!”

I’ll click back to Classic Rock 93, and on and on it goes until she grabs the radio dial herself.

My comments on her Facebook page also seem to bother her. For instance, like most 14-year-old girls and my big brother, she’s into all things Justin Bieber. Bieber is the “hot” new teen-idol pop singer. She sings just about every Bieber song at full blast when they come across the radio and has posters and pictures of the guy all over her room.

So, when she posts about Bieber on Facebook, I’ll comment something like, “He is soooo dreamy!”

Sometimes I’ll get Hannah and all of her friends in a tizzy by commenting: “Sad news, girls. Justin Bieber has completed puberty and his voice is deep and completely off-key.”

Or: “Sad news, girls. Justin Bieber was killed today by a giant moose.”

Or (and this is my favorite): “Sad news, girls. Justin Bieber has just announced he’s coming out of the closet.”

Like I said, I can be very irritating to my daughter…somewhat like mimes are to me.

The difference, obviously, is I’m being irritating on purpose.

And people tell me I’m very good at doing such a thing.

All Over the Map

by Rob Grace

March 31, 2010

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been missing in a few recent issues of Arkansas Weekly or that an old “All Over the Map” has run instead of a new one.

There is a reason for my sporadic absences, and I will explain, but first, let me say this.

Reaching the age of 40 for many men can cause them to reflect on their accomplishments at what is likely their halfway point in life. It can also make them consider that there are many dreams yet to be realized and that time is not infinite.

Some men decide to make new beginnings when they arrive in mid-life. They grasp the opportunity to take control of their destiny in their remaining years and to become the man they’ve always dreamed of being.

In the past few weeks, I’ve realized I am at that point.

And I have decided to become the captain of my destiny.

So, it is with a bittersweet feeling that I tell you, dear readers, that this is my last column.

But, don’t be down. Be happy for me…for I have decided to begin a new and exciting chapter in my life.

Tomorrow, I will be moving from my beloved hometown of Batesville to the Big Apple…New York City. And it is there where I will realize my longtime dream of becoming a mime.

Next week, I’ll begin taking classes at the Shields and Yarnell School for Mime. You might remember this groundbreaking superstar mime duo from their appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, and of course, their legendary CBS comedy-variety program, The Shields and Yarnell Show.

Now, yes, their namesake show only lasted one season, but that was likely because the head of CBS at the time hated mimes. There is, as you know, a very small -- practically microscopic -- percentage of people who do not care for mimes, and those people need our prayers because they are likely unhappy and always in a sour mood. I mean, come on, who in their right mind doesn’t LOVE mimes?!? Am I right?

I can remember being thrilled at the magical majesty of mime at a very early age watching Shields and Yarnell on television. I sat in front of the television set enthralled as I watched these two mime the act of chasing butterflies or picking daises for each other. Yes, sometimes my big brother would hit me over the head with a tennis shoe for watching this show, saying something like, “Are you kidding me? You like this (expletive deleted)? You’re watching this instead of The Six Million Dollar Man? I mean, Rob, seriously, please tell me you like girls.” But I knew he couldn’t appreciate the enchanting skill and artistry of mime, and that was his loss.

On Saturdays, I would stay in my room, apply the white pancake makeup and practice standard mime antics in a black unitard I had purchased -- until my father caught me in full mime regalia and forced me to join pee-wee football and learn how to dip Skoal.

I was crushed. I was living a lie all through my pre-teen and teenage years. In college, my passion of mime was reignited. I started to mime on campus, but stopped after I was hit on the head with a tennis shoe by my brother who once showed up for a surprise visit. Humiliated, I put away my mime dreams forever.

It wasn’t until this past Christmas when I finally realized you only have one life, and you must live life to the fullest. Cleaning out some storage one weekend afternoon, I came across my black unitard and pancake make-up in a box. I could feel a stirring in my belly. With a delicate hesitancy, I slipped on the unitard – which, surprisingly, was four sizes too small for some reason -- then I applied my make-up and decided to test the waters again.

There really isn’t a good place to mime in Batesville because of the traffic, so I drove to Thida and noticed a group of folks standing outside the feed store, shooting the bull. Perfect! I got out of the car in my mime regalia and started to do a silly routine for the group where I mimicked picking dandelions.

I can’t really remember what happened next, but I awoke from my coma two days later in a local hospital and endured reconstructive facial surgery for mysterious injuries.

That’s why my column output has been here and there. And, it was in the hospital when I determined to head to the school in New York – and realize my dream of becoming the greatest mime since Marcel Marceau.

So, farewell Arkansas Weekly readers. I shall miss you and think of you always. Do not be sad because these pages will still carry $4 classifieds and Duffie, but I must follow my heart.

My journey to fulfill my destiny begins tomorrow, April 1.

Goodbye. And good luck.


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