July 3, 1999
My Personal Bobo
 
I simply must insist that you CLICK HERE to see the world's most adorable nephew ... and then HERE to check out my *virgin foray* into publication ...


David called me at the office yesterday. "Have you read The Chronicle today?" he asked.

When I replied that no, I'd been too busy lollygagging on AOL all morning, he said, "Well, there's an article about people who put up home pages and journals on the Internet. You should read it."

(Note: I am KIDDING about the lollygagging. Do NOT get excited. Do NOT write me e-mail asking how I can *afford* to be on AOL all day long when I have such a big important job with so much to do. And do NOT write anonymous letters to my boss, informing him that I'm "dangerous" and "unstable" and shouldn't be allowed within a one hundred foot radius of his Mastercard unless we get counseling first.)

I'd already filed yesterday's newspaper away in Franz' office -- along with the other 43,897,621 critical pieces of mail, inter-company correspondence ("Has anyone seen my Tuperware [sic]?") and important golf magazines he'll want to read when he comes home from Europe next week. So I asked David to read me the highlights of the newspaper article, over the phone.

"I don't suppose they mention *FootNotes,* do they?" I asked hopefully.

No such luck. But the article turned out to be interesting in spite of this glaring oversight. Written by The Chronicle's television reporter, John Carman, it was a review of an upcoming HBO documentary called "Home Page," which focuses on the phenomenon of personal websites. It sounds like the filmmaker spends a lot of time trying to answer the question of WHY people have personal home pages in the first place ... especially those who choose to reveal intimate details about their lives for all the world to read. (The very same question I was tussling with myself, an entry or two ago.) 

Exhibitionism is offered as one explanation. So is "the quest for a glimmer of fame in our celebrity culture," and "insecure or ungrounded" childhoods. (The latter premise? Some folks who felt alienated or untethered as a kid -- as I did -- find a certain sort of centeredness in their websites. Hmmmm.)

Towards the end of the review, "Suck" Webzine Editor Carl Steadman offers the very best explanation of why we have home pages ... and it is as insightful and accurate a comment as I've ever heard, anywhere, about anything. He says, basically, that we do it ... to find *Bobo.*
"That's what home pages are all about. You're looking for Bobo ... that person out there somewhere, who makes it all OK. Maybe if you put up enough about yourself on the Web, Bobo will find you."

After David read that part to me over the phone, we both fell silent for a moment. I mean that literally: we fell silent, sitting there on opposite ends of the phone trying the idea on for size. It fit. 

"That's me, isn't it?" I said finally. "I was looking for Bobo."

"The really amazing part," David replied, "is that you found him."


*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *


My *Bobo* stood in the kitchen this morning at 8:43 a.m., fresh from the shower ... clad only in underwear and socks, belting out a Clash tune ("Deny! You're such a liar! You wouldn't know the truth if it hit you in the eye!"), waving his coffee mug around for emphasis. I looked up from the computer for a second and saw him standing there, in all of his Fruit of the Loon glory, and I burst out laughing.

"What's so funny?" he said, pretending to look hurt. He'd managed to dribble coffee down the front of his pristine white underpants.

I shook my head. "I ... don't think there are words to describe it," I giggled. There is just something endearingly comical -- or is that comically endearing? -- about a man so secure in his masculinity -- and in his singing "talent" -- that he can stand around the kitchen in his undies, serenading the world.

"You realize," I said, "that I'm going to have to write about this." His status as co-star in the sitcom of my life -- and my website -- was more or less permanently established the minute I got off that airplane last October. Some of the Not-So-Significant-Others in my past may have had a problem with that idea ... but not DRafterBobo.

"I am perfectly fine with that," he said. "As long as you tell them how STUDLY I look." And he struck that ridiculous, *Look How Buff I Am!* guy-pose. You know the one: muscles flexed, butt cheeks thrust outward, teeth bared, eyes bulging.

He looked like a Hasbro action figure in coffee-stained underpants.

I lost it completely at that point: I laughed so hard that I had to change my NIGHTGOWN afterward. [Ahem.] A few minutes later he left for a day of bike-riding, but the memory of that *merry moment* has made me smile, all morning.


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