Happy Little Bloodbath

Today I’m binge-watch­ing Bob Ross.

No, real­ly.

There’s a free chan­nel sec­tion on our smart TV, and it has an entire chan­nel of noth­ing but Bob Ross’ The Joy of Paint­ing. I stum­bled across it last night and today I’m let­ting it play in the back­ground while I’m work­ing.

Bob Ross had the gen­tlest, most sooth­ing voice in the whole wide world. Mis­ter Rogers sound­ed like Axl Rose com­pared to Ross. There was a good rea­son for that: Ross was career mil­i­tary; an Air Force Mas­ter Sergeant at Eiel­son Air Force Base in Alas­ka, where he become fond of snowy moun­tain land­scapes and of shout­ing, a vital skill for Mas­ter Sergeants. When he retired he start­ed paint­ing snowy moun­tain land­scapes, but he also vowed nev­er to raise his voice again.

He would have been a great air traf­fic controller—how could you get stressed with his voice on the radio?

But I think it would be more fun if he did col­or com­men­tary for a sport—UFC, for exam­ple:

Joe Rogan: “WOAH! Usman does a SUPLEX! Did you see that? It’s a UFC first! Burns is in trou­ble now and NO, WAIT! BURNS COUNTERS USMAN! USMAN IS IN THE GUARD AFTER THAT KILLER SUPLEX!

Bob Ross: You know, there’s a lot of room in the octa­gon. I love see­ing that wide open space; it’s just like a new can­vas. It’s Gilbert’s world; he can put anyth—

Joe Rogan: I DON’T BELIEVE IT! USMAN’S GOT BURNS IN THE AIR! Usman is LETHAL on the ground, but he’s not gonna set­tle for an arm bar tonight! IT’S A BLOODBATH!

Bob Ross: It’s Usman’s world now. I think he’s going to add a hap­py lit­tle body lock in the cor­ner there. Hey, let’s do some­thing fun here—yeah, break­ing Gilbert’s nose is a great idea. Don’t be afraid to use bold­er col­ors to stand out. Be care­ful though; a lit­tle bit of blood can go a long w—


Bob Ross: So is his face, but that’s okay. There are no mis­takes; just hap­py acci­dents. It’s your world; you can make it beau­ti­ful any way you like.

My friend Rob and some oth­er friends and I used to play a Bob Ross drink­ing game: The PBS sta­tion in Tope­ka would occa­sion­al­ly show two or three The Joy of Paint­ing reruns at a time late on week­ends. We’d set­tle in with our beer or Scotch or what­ev­er, and game on!

There were four rules:

  1. When­ev­er Bob said, “Hap­py lit­tle,” as in “I’m gonna put a hap­py lit­tle tree over here,” you took a drink.
  2. When­ev­er he said, “Your world,” as in “It’s your world; you can put in any­thing you want,” you took two drinks.
  3. When­ev­er he said, “Hap­py acci­dent,” as in “Oh, I just used the wrong col­or here, but that’s okay. What do we always say? ‘There are no mis­takes, just hap­py acci­dents,’” you stood up, toast­ed every­one else in the room,  said “Here’s to hap­py acci­dents!” and took a drink.
  4. And if Bob said “Crazy,” as in “Should we do some­thing crazy? I’m gonna get crazy and put a bush right here,” you stood up, toast­ed every­one else while scream­ing, “NO! DON’T DO IT, BOB! IT’S CRAZY!” and drained your drink, no mat­ter whether it was almost gone or if you just refilled it.

I don’t think we ever came up with any rules for com­bi­na­tions. If Bob said, “Now I want­ed to get crazy with this hap­py lit­tle bush here; there was a hap­py acci­dent, but that’s okay—it’s your world,” I don’t know how we should have respond­ed. Flam­ing Bac­ar­di 151 shots, maybe?

I don’t know if he ever said any­thing like that any­way; by the end of the first episode we were usu­al­ly too drunk to keep up.

No one else was here today except Pep­per. I love Pep­per, but she’s a lousy drink­ing bud­dy. I need­ed to get some work done any­way. So I didn’t play the Bob Ross drink­ing game while I was binge-watch­ing The Joy of Paint­ing.

Which is good, because I prob­a­bly would have wound up with alco­hol poi­son­ing. But I’ll proud­ly raise my Big Gulp of diet Dr Pep­per to the nicest orange-afroed painter ever.

Here’s to you, Bob. Keep it hap­py and just a lit­tle bit crazy.

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