By Mindy James
I was going to write a memorial to Bob all about how I met him and my impressions of him as a domesticated primate. As I brainstormed and attempted to write, it became clear to me that I had a lot of internal resistance. I mean, we’re talking about the author whose works I’ve almost exclusively spent the last decade reading and studying, and the man I met and knew during the last 30 months of his life. I think it’s just too soon for me to share in writing what he’s meant to me. So instead, I give you a haiku, with footnotes (just for the hell of it, because it’s all I can give at this time).
Saint3 of metaprogramming4
Now churns Pacific5
1 In the early days of the MLA, Bob posted frequently, and he once said that we could call him Uncle Bob, or Aunt Bobbie, but after meeting him I settled into Papa – an endearing term for me, as that was the name of my only grandfather.
2 In the Hindu tradition, adding –ji to a name indicates great respect and is commonly used directly with one’s spriritual teacher. I also liked this name for Bob due to its similarity to Babaji, the “living Christ” of the Hindu tradition, who supposedly still exists in physical form. I’m sure any good Hindu would not approve of me making that connection, and it feels inappropriate to me, but then again, when I first met Bob I wanted to throw myself at his feet (but didn’t out of not wanting to embarrass him.)
3 “Every man and every woman is a Tsar.” Yet I still hold Bob as a saint in my mind. Besides, I perceived a lovely, warm, gold aura around him. His being radiated beauty, particularly through his blue eyes.
4 With anything, but particularly in the case of metaprogramming, I think there’s a big difference between knowing and doing. And I believe that Bob walked his talk. He paved the way for so many others… and even went so far as to continually remind us to “do the goddamn exercizes!” Praise Bob.
5 Zenpunkist and I recently spent some time on the beach in Monterey, and I caught myself wondering if my feet touched Bob’s ashes as we waded through the water. Has he joined the ocean? How many of its water molecules has he mingled with?