It’s time for us to stop missing out on one another

On Sunday I got the sad news on Facebook that my friend Bobby,who I’ve known since 1998 when we were both in high school, lost his battle with bobby2leukemia and passed away at the age of 32.

Bobby and I met on the school bus, we met at the same stop every day at 6: 45 a.m. and were dropped off at about close to 4 p.m. because we had to wait a fucking half hour or more for the bus to pick us up at our school. Bobby was never at a loss in finding a way to make me laugh at anytime and we had some good times.

When we were in high school and riding the bus, we on two occasions saw an old guy who looked like he was in his eighties doing jumping jacks in front of this old house that looked like it needed to be bulldozed big time. The second time we saw him,one of our classmates waved at him and he flipped the bus off. It was hilarious. We also watched as we witnessed one of our classmates annoy our afternoon driver (who looked like Chris Farley in drag,by the way) to get her change the radio station to rock music since none of us really wanted to listen to country. He then said he needed to get home to his crack and then said “Crack doesn’t smoke itself!” and was kicked off by our vice principal.

There was one time where I threw an empty Sprite bottle over a wall at school and one of the science teachers at school,who was a bit of a prick, saw me do it and yelled at me for doing so and had me properly dispose of it. Bobby always brought that incident up years later after he and I had graduated. It was no doubt funnier after it happened.

We both loved sports very much,but not the same teams. He was an L.A. guy while I had my favorites. I was thrilled for him when his Rams beat the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. He even felt that my Sacramento Kings should’ve beaten his Lakers in 2002. He wasn’t unhappy when he didn’t,but he understood how good that team was and should’ve been. He even turned me on to fantasy football back in 1999 when a lot of people weren’t really playing online. 

Bobby was instrumental in helping me get my first ever job. It was at the Wendy’s by our homes (which is now a credit union) and I worked the drive-thru from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. making $7 an hour (which was a lot of money for an 18-year-old back in 2000). Bobby was eventually promoted to Safety Marshal and he took his position very seriously. I stayed seven months after the long late hours were draining me. Bobby was there a lot longer,though.

He and a few friends of his and mine even formed a band called Pocket H. They even played at a little club in our hometown called The Boardwalk and I went to see them play (in the only time I’ve ever been there as a 26-year resident). He greeted the crowd by saying “How are you doing,God Damnit?”. Classic!

After time passed, Bobby moved to the Bay Area to study law and became a lawyer. He later got married and had two children and decided to make the decision to move to Guam and practice law there where he was adored and revered among his co-workers. I got to see video of news reports from Guam of cases he was on that he won and I couldn’t have been prouder of what he was able to achieve in his professional life. I wish I could’ve done half of what he did. He really set his mind to what he wanted to do and even wanted to go back to Guam and practice law once he was able to get better. Unfortunately,that didn’t happen.

The last time I saw him in person was 12 years ago. He had picked me up from my house and we hung out for a while. He drove a white Ford Ranger pick-up back then and for me it was like old times. We talked about the old days and replayed all of our greatest hits,including telling our favorite jokes, inside and outside, our stories and just having fun making one another laugh. I tried meeting up with him a few years later when my brother and I were heading to a Giants game,but he was unfortunately very busy. I always held out hope that we would one day see each other again in person and have some good times again. While we would talk to one another sporadically and even play Words with Friends together (which he was incredibly good at,I think he lost to me only twice), an in-person reunion never materialized and as I write this to you,I can’t tell you how regretful I am that it didn’t. I’m even regretful we didn’t talk more often.

So why I am I writing about this to you today? Well,for one,to tell the story about a great guy who,for 18 years,decided to be friends with me and was amazing for having done so,but also to say that life is short and I think that we as a society need to do a much better job of being in contact with one another. I walk around everywhere now and all I see are people burying their faces in their phones looking at Facebook or catching Pokemon. I’m guilty as sin of this as well, but that’s the unfortunate world we live in.

I feel like the art of conversation is evolving into who can send the funniest text with a poop emoji. I wish things were different. I wish we would spend time talking more to one another,either in person or even on the phone,just to see how one another is doing every once in a while. What I would love for anyone who reads this to do is to call or text someone who you haven’t seen,talked to,or heard from in a while and contact them to see how they’re doing and to let them know you’re thinking of them and miss them and would maybe even like to see them sometime. 


What I’ve been thinking about and what I’ve realized the past few days is that I think we’re missing out on each other as people,as friends,as family,as members of society. I think if we stop looking down on our phones so much and talk to each other more,I think we’re all going to be amazed on how great we are as people and how much we’ll want to be in one another’s lives. There’s one guy who I wish was still in mine.

Bob,rest in peace,good sir. I’m gonna miss you!

bobby

James Robert Mortland III

1984-2016

4 thoughts on “It’s time for us to stop missing out on one another

      1. Also,I’m not sure how you found my column,but I’m so glad you did and I hope you enjoyed some of my fondest memories of your brother.

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