Today I’m binge-watching Bob Ross.
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—
Joe Rogan: IT’S OVER! THE REF’S CALLING IT! GILBERT’S WINNING STREAK IS HISTORY! IT’S GONE!
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:
- Whenever Bob said, “Happy little,” as in “I’m gonna put a happy little tree over here,” you took a drink.
- Whenever he said, “Your world,” as in “It’s your world; you can put in anything you want,” you took two drinks.
- 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.
- 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.