No, this isn't about Uncle Bob, my next-door neighbour who sold a skunky pinto to a stranger. This is about a long-time colleague at my newspaper who recently retired after forty years in the Production Department. We put together a fake newspaper all about Bob. I wrote a little article about his fictitious life before his newspaper career, and included Photoshopped versions of him in his 'fabulous' roles. I'm sure he won't mind if I repeat my story here:
Whatever Happened to Bob Greenfield?
Long gone are the days when Robert Greenfield's handsome visage graced the front pages of every newspaper and magazine in the country. Many wonder what this Renaissance man had been up to in the last forty years.
This persistent journalist was fortunate to run into Mr. Greenfield at a local garden centre. After much persuasion, Bob agreed to a brief interview. By chance, he happened to have in his possession a fine collection of photographs depicting his glorious past.
Today, he sits on the other side of a battered Formica table at the local Tim Horton's, a cup of coffee cradled in his big hands.
He wasn't always the statuesque specimen he is today. He once enjoyed a lucrative apprenticeship in the Sport of Kings. Yes, folks, he was a jockey. At Saratoga Springs, he started out cleaning stalls and soon moved up to apprentice rider. As a youth, he was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time when famed horseman Red Pollock failed to show for a race. Ready in a flash, Bob rode the intrepid Seabiscuit to victory in a key race.
After an unfortunate growth spurt, Mr. Greenfield hitchhiked from Saratoga to the City of Angels, hoping to find his fortune in Hollywood.
Always the lucky dude, he was discovered by the famous agent Duke Diggem while shopping for vegetable seeds at one of California's first garden centres. Diggem signed him on the spot. Greenfield promptly landed a plum role opposite Debbie Reynolds in the Oscar-winning "Please Don't Eat The Tomato Plants." At the same time, he starred in the tense detective drama "For Madame With Malice."
His blockbuster year earned him two Oscars.
Bob buried himself in his roles, often performing his own stunts. He kept in shape by participating in various sports like boxing and ice hockey.
He even used his residual funds to finance a trip to Nepal, where he successfully scaled Mount Everest.
His fame and fortune quickly preceded him wherever he went. Whether on the red carpet at a movie premiere or during dinner at The Longhorn Steakhouse, crowds gathered to ask for autographs. Blinded by flashbulbs and numbed by generous offers to father many babies, Bob found public life increasingly difficult.
When he saw the Help Wanted advertisement in the Era, he gleefully took the welcome plunge into anonymity. For forty years, he quietly produced the pages of the local newspaper, relieved that he was no longer in its headlines. And he's been there ever since.
I finally ask him, "So, Mr. Greenfield, what have you been up to?"
"Well," he replies in his low drawl, "I kept pretty busy clicking buttons, looking at my computer, going home for a lovely lunch prepared by Mother, and collecting coffee money." He grins. "That is, until today."