Do you know of Bob Ross? You should.
When I was in college, my friends and I smoked a lot of weed. Which was a requirement for the full collegiate experience in the United States. Back in our day, it was very much illegal, and that only made it more exciting.
One afternoon, one of my friends and I decided to blow off one of our classes to sit in his apartment and try out his new water pipe. The thing was beautiful — it looked like a glass fish bowl that should have had the words “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish” engraved on it. It had a big rubber stopper on the top with the cannabis-holding bowl and a snaking plastic hose coming out of it. We filled it up and were soon chasing clouds. We decided to flip on the TV and channel surf. It wasn’t long before we stumbled across an afro-sporting landscape painter with the voice of an angel.
He painted happy clouds, happy trees, and happy accidents.
He spoke of friendly squirrels that hid nuts in his shoes.
He was soothing and hypnotic. He could trigger my ASMR before I even knew ASMR was what that tingly sensation was called.
And man, could that guy paint! Just when you’d think he’d gone and ruined his painting with a big ol’ tree or a shed or some such, tap, tap, tap, brush, brush, brush, sweep, sweep, sweep, and the painting had become somehow even more beautiful.
And he did it all with no editing in less than thirty minutes.
And he told us that we, too, could paint just like he did.
We didn’t care. We were high, and we just wanted to sit there and watch him do it all day.
I don’t know what time his show was on. He just always seemed to be there when we were high. Flip on the TV, jump around on the clicker a bit, and sure enough, there he’d be, big ol’ mass of curly hair floating over sparkling eyes and a gentle smile wrapped in a beard. “The Joy of Painting,” it was. “Bob Ross,” he was. And whenever we’d stumble across him, we’d all shout joyfully, “The painting dude!” and we’d settle in to watch him create snowy mountains, luscious forests, or happy tree-reflecting lakes from nowhere, just with a little Van Dyke Brown and Prussian Blue. And man, we’d be in those gorgeously painted sceneries.
Years later, I was delighted to find many other people who knew Bob Ross, people who had stumbled across him just as we had — purely by accident (happy accident) while high on a quiet afternoon. He had become a cultural icon.
I recently watched the Netflix documentary about Bob Ross, entitled Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed. All I will say about it is this:
- Bob Ross was really as awesome as he seemed. He was genuine. And he loved nature and animals. He was a good person.
- I will never, ever buy any Bob Ross brand (BRI) items because the evil bastards that stole control of it are scum and they deserve not one penny. Their name is Kowalski and they should be in prison.
I choose not to dwell on that, however. That’s not what Bob Ross would have wanted. I will continue to watch Bob Ross paint on YouTube videos, and I will continue to be inspired by his kind heart and love of nature. And before this turns into yet another rant about how WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO PROTECT OUR PLANET FROM THE EVIL GREEDY KOWALSKIS OF THE WORLD, I will simply leave you with this:
...so from all of us here I’d like to wish you happy painting, and God bless, my friend…