The Real Bob Greene | Miscellany | Chicago Reader

The Real Bob Greene 

We Explain So Bob Doesn't Have To

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EVEN AS A CHILD I WAS DIFFERENT.

"So I cut her picture out and put it in this little cardboard box and carried it around. Rose La Rose was my first sex symbol. I realize that you probably feel this is a little strange--an 8-year-old boy carrying a picture of a stripper around in a box."

"Rose La Rose: forever young" (3/13/88)

SADLY, THE GIRLS I WANTED DIDN'T WANT ME.

"I tried to work up the nerve to ask Michele Slung to dance with me. As I stood there trying to get my courage up, a tall, good-looking camper from Cincinnati, a fellow named Jim, strode right over to Michele Slung and led her onto the dance floor. They spent the rest of the evening dancing together."

"An old-time flame from youth camp" (5/19/87)

IN COLLEGE THE REALLY HOT CHICKS DIDN'T KNOW I WAS ALIVE.

"The closest that my friends and I had ever come to entering the sanctuary that was the DG house was during a spring panty raid, when a fraternity brother of mine named Frank DiGiansante had scaled the front wall of the DG house while being cheered on by hundreds of male students below."

"Dirge for a lost date with the DGs" (3/24/85)

THEN I BECAME A REPORTER. THINGS IMPROVED.

"As we talked, other members of the Bulls walked past--Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, John Paxson, Bill Cartwright. Jordan's voice was soft, and he nodded hello to each of them and continued with his memories."

"When Jordan cried behind closed doors." (5/15/91)

I GOT TO MEET THE WORLD'S MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN.

"I received an early Christmas present, and it's the greatest gift any American boy could ever want: Vanna White's home phone number."

"At last, Vanna's life is a puzzle no more" (12/22/85)

BUT I WAS A FRAUD.

"I promised myself I wouldn't put it in the column again--but then March rolled around, and it was just such an easy thing to do. The column announcing the pageant read exactly the same every year--I kept it in my computer at work, and on a slow March day it was just so easy to punch the button and send the Ms. Greene's World Pageant column to the copy desk and get a free day off."

"Calling it quits on outdated idea" (3/18/85)

MY RELATIONSHIPS WERE HOLLOW.

"The great majority of people I talk with are using me as a conduit to get into the newspaper."

"Not everyone wants to be a newsmaker" (5/6/85)

AGING TERRIFIED ME.

"I'm 42 this year, and--not to put too fine a point on it--let's just say that 42 is the age older than which Elvis never quite managed to become."

"A room at the top--and Elvis lived in it" (8/13/89)

I KNEW I WAS LIVING ON BORROWED TIME

"Ours is a disposable culture. A star does not have to ask himself if he will eventually be discarded; the answer to that is always yes. The only question is when the star will be discarded."

"Stars have to rush to beat the eclipse" (8/23/89)

SO I GOT WHILE THE GETTING WAS GOOD

"My MTV crew pass was dangling from my neck; this gave me access to the broadcast complex. The purpose of my trip was to observe what college Spring Break has become."

"Spring Break kids are just TV props" (4/9/90)

AND ACTED OUT MY FANTASIES.

"All those cold Northwestern nights, my fraternity brothers and I walking coeds back to their dorms and sorority houses before curfew time, and then returning to our lonely rooms at the Phi Ep house. This could make up for all of it. I had to get Miss America up to my old fraternity room."

"Miss America runs into a bit of a snag" (10/26/86)

I HAD MY SECRETS.

"We told ourselves that the girls in this town were of looser morals than the girls in our own; thus, for some reason that escapes me right now, we made certain to use false names when we introduced ourselves to them. (The name I always used--I swear this is true--was Mike Holiday.)"

"No need to save the last dance for me" (4/22/86)

BUT I KNEW THEY'D EVENTUALLY GET ME.

"It's a dreary pattern: If a person becomes a success, then he or she is open to leeches with far less God-given abilities--leeches who know that there is a market in tearing down men and women who have achieved more than the leeches ever can dream of."

"The lowest form of authorship" (8/10/88)

SOCIETY HAS ITS LIMITS.

"As charming a fellow as [Hugh Hefner] has always been, I said, he must be aware that some people--not necessarily moralists--are harshly critical of what they perceive as the arrangement between him and his four young girlfriends."

"My life has turned into bad fiction" (4/16/00)

AND WHEN MY TIME COMES, I'LL GO WITHOUT A FIGHT.

"When I show up at a restaurant that has a dress code, and find that I am in violation of that dress code, I never put up a fuss about leaving. I simply say 'You're right' and take off. I respect a place for having standards. You don't want me there, I'm gone. Here's to you."

"Being tagged out at a classy bistro" (2/21/89)

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Jeff Heller.

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