I don't completely know the circumstances of his last days, but he was having tough times. I'm still numb to the whole situation.
I met Bob in 1996, when he moved into my college apartment replacing a roommate that had moved out. We got along right away! Bob came from a different background than I did, but we bonded over music, the Simpson's, beer and sarcasm. We had some good times in college, listening to Iron Maiden and singing 665, the Neighbor of the Beast.....
I also turned Bob into a little bit of a Rolling Stones fan and he even lifted weights with me for a little bit. Usually weighing around 127, Bob was all proud of getting to 131.
Eventually, I moved on to a different school and Bob moved on as well. Some of my favorite stories about Bob were at his new apartment. There's the one where we were listening to Metallica so loud that the cops not only came, but they could identify the exact song we were listening to. I believe it was "Seek & Destroy". Well, the cops message to turn it down was lost on us a little. We were so excited that he could hear it so clearly and he knew the song. We wanted him to stay and listen to tunes with us. There is also the night that Bob was talking smack to "Satan" the cat. Well, not only did Satan deserve his name, but he was also going to be neutered soon. Bob had a couple beers in him and he kept saying to the cat, "you think you're hot shit, but just wait". The looks on his face and the sound of his voice as he was talking down to that cat is one of my favorite memories ever.
Bob was a fun guy to hang out with but he also cared about people. I had fallen on some hard financial times and I asked Bob if I could move in to his house. I didn't really think that he'd go for it but, not only did he let me move, he charged me almost no rent. All he asked is that I help him around the house, pay what I could & when my situation improved, pay him more.
I moved out of Bob's place in 2004. I moved to New York state for a decent job. Early on, I always made it a point to hang out with Bob when I came to town..... but, eventually, I came to town less, I moved more times and met my Allison and got married. Life happened and I had fallen out of touch with Bob a little. I have fallen out of touch with other buddies as well.
I know now that Bob had fallen on hard times. I knew he had been out of work when we spoke in the spring of 2010. I tried to convince him to apply to my company in Texas. He wasn't terribly interested in a Texas move (not sure why, the Republican values, gun laws and wide open spaces seemed like a good fit). I since lost that job and had to take a job in New Hampshire. That job keeps me constantly busy. I also spent nearly 2 years away from my family and often commuting to see them. I haven't even been to Minnesota since May 2010. Life happened to me and didn't know that Bob was in such a bad place.
When I got the news on Tuesday and was told how I was one of Bob's best friends and I realized I hadn't spoken to him in a year and a half, I felt terrible. I still feel terrible. I feel bad that I hadn't seen him in awhile. I feel bad that I wasn't aware or able to help him in his dark times.
I was looking forward to seeing after Christmas and I plan on having a beer in your honor at Dubliner. I will always remember the good stories. Bob commenting on something smelling so bad "That it really Vikings"
Life is short! Call your friends, visit as often as you can. I've lost 2 of my best friends in the last 2 years and I hadn't seen either of them in their last 2+ years before they'd passed away. I wasn't even able to go to his funeral.
God Bless you Bob and the entire O'Neill family.