Last week, I made my way to McGee’s Annex in Nevada City to indulge my weekly ration of alcohol. (One Bailey’s and coffee. That’s my limit.) I ponied up to the bar and ordered my beverage, and noticed a stranger sitting next to me with a puzzled look on his face.
“Excuse me,” he said. “Do you have a brother?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Is his name Bob?”
“No. My brother’s name is Bill.”
“Gee,” he said, looking a little relieved. “You know you look a lot like a guy named Bob Crabb.”
“Uh, yeah. Actually, I am Bob Crabb!”
The color drained from his face. He inched back from me a ways and said, “Really! I heard that you had, uh, passed on. ”
“Not hardly,” I replied, smiling. “As Mark Twain once said, ‘Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.’ ”
The stranger was clearly embarrassed. He fumbled around with an apology, and over the course of the next hour, sought me out to repeat it.
It’s not the first time I’ve been taken for dead, or dismembered. In the same bar back in the eighties, another patron had heard I was mauled by a grizzly bear during a trip to Alaska. That one was unfounded as well, although I admit I was more than a little nervous during a salmon fishing expedition out in the bush during my first trip to the Land of the Midnight Sun. I had trouble unhooking the beasties from my line and reeked of fish. Any bear that might have come along could have easily mistaken me for lunch. Fortunately, I didn’t encounter any.
Actually, I feel pretty good right now. I am in the final stages of finishing my two-year long project, a graphic novel. Of course, the hard part comes next: I have to sell the thing. In today’s publishing world, it will be a challenge. Still, I’m optimistic.
Which means that those of you out there who have chastised me as a “dying breed” will have to wait a little longer to break out the party favors. (Sorry, Jeff.)