Friday, September 7, 2012

RIP Joe Roberts, aka Where I've Been For The Last Month

Hey there Cellmates. Yes, I’m still in the land of the living, and yes, SOC is getting back in gear. As I’m sure you noticed, I haven’t been around a lot lately. In fact, this is my first post in a month. Some of you know where I’ve been during my hiatus, and I’m sure some of you just think I’ve been being lazy, so I’m just gonna lay it all out there and let you know what’s been going down. I warn you, some heavy shit has been happening, and it’s gonna get personal and probably a little emotional, but that’s just how it goes.

This is Joe Roberts. Some off you knew him personally. Some of you just knew him through his involvement in SOC. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while (or checked out the archives), you’ll remember EC3. Joe, Daniel, and I did group reviews of The Vomit Gore Trilogy, Subconscious Cruelty, and Anthropophagus. Unfortunately, it’s been tough to get all 3 of our schedules together lately, so we haven’t done an EC3 in what feels like forever. Joe was a major part of the inner circle of SOC. He was one of the people who encouraged me to start the blog. Actually, he always told me I was a f**king idiot for not starting one sooner. His nocturnal hours and acerbic wit made him the perfect late night screener-watching partner. Close to half of the movies I’ve reviewed on this site I watched with him.

He wasn’t just a part of this project though. I considered him my little brother. We met when I was a junior in high school and he was a freshman. Over the years we watched countless movies together, were in bands together, did a lot of stupid shit together, grew up and learned about life together, competed over who could build the coolest collection of bizarre artifacts and horror/Halloween memorabilia, helped each other through dark times, laughed about the past and talked about the future, went on road trips together, and generally were closer than most blood kin. He was probably the one person I could most freely share my thoughts and feelings with. Most of the best times I’ve ever had somehow involved him. Six years ago, when I lost my actual blood little brother to a drug overdose, I started to think of him even more in that role.

Well, for close to a year he’s been struggling with a lot of medical issues. I’m not gonna go into a lot of details. Suffice it to say, he was in rough shape. He’s been in and out of the hospital, seen god knows how many doctors, and was in a lot of pain. Watching him deteriorate over the past year has been a very sad experience, but he kept it lighthearted most of the time. There was this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I might be watching one of my best friends dying, but I always pushed that to the side. There were still treatments to try and tests to run; and for a while it actually looked like he was making progress towards getting better. Then, at the beginning of August, his parents found him unresponsive in his chair. They took him to Emory, which is the best hospital in the Southeast. There they basically told him that his liver and kidneys had shut down and that there was nothing they could do. He opted to return home and die there.
I’ll spare you the play by play of his final 2 weeks. I stayed there with him, both because the nurses needed the extra muscle (due to his extreme adema, he was hard to move around) and because I promised him that I would stay with him ‘til the end. A handful of his other friends were also there a much as humanly possible. The Pack is an amazing group of people. It was a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching time. Without going into specifics, things were very complicated. There were quite a few moments when each of us broke down, but there were also some powerful, very deeply moving moments. It was kinda profound in a way. Watching Joe go through the phases, watching The Pack gather around him, and seeing how each person dealt with it in a different way showed me a lot of things about the human spirit and condition. He had always said that he wanted me to conduct his funeral, but we never actually thought of that as a reality. He still maintained that I was to do it at the end, though, so I did. That sucked. Hell, the whole experience sucked. Bad.

So that’s where I’ve been for the last little while. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy, and there’s nothing I want more in this world right now than to have Joe back, but life has to go on. Joe was always a huge believer in the fact that I could make this blog and (in the bigger picture) my writing/editing career a success. The best way I can think of to honor his memory is to keep on keeping on and make Son of Celluloid everything it can be. I’ll be honest with you folks, my head is still pretty discombobulated. I love that word. Anyway, at the moment it’s hard to wrap my mind around a flick and concentrate enough to write, so getting started again might be a bit of a slow process. Just know that I’m gonna work through it, we’re gonna get back to what we do ‘round these parts, and I’ve got some big plans for the next few months. I’ve especially got something cool in the works for October.

One bright spot in all of this is the discovery that I still have all of the recordings from EC3. 12 hours of Joe, Daniel, and I bullshitting about gore flicks and giving them the MST3K treatment. There is even a Human Centipede 2 edition that was never published. I’ll get that written up as soon as I can handle listening to it. I can’t do it yet. I was also hanging on to a flick called Philosophy of a Knife to be the next edition. If and when I will do that one remains to be seen. The future of the series is up in the air. Daniel and I will decide what to do eventually.

I want to take a minute to thank all of you who posted on the Facebook page, messaged and emailed me, and sent well wishes and support. You guys have no idea how much that means to me. I’ve said it before, but I’ve never meant it more; the Cellmates are the greatest group of readers a writer could ask for. I’m sorry if this whole thing was too maudlin and sentimental, but it’s a long road back to normalcy. Life will go on, horror will go on, and dammit, Son of Celluloid will go on. Joe, buddy, you’re forever gonna be my inspiration to keep this SOC thing going. I love you bitch. I’ll see you on the other side.

Bear with me folks, Son of Celluloid is on the way back…

5 comments:

Tiffany T said...

Well said. I can't even imagine what it must be like for "the pack" right now. Having someone like Joe be a regular fixture in your life and then not- it must be very hard. So sorry for your loss, but you're right, nothing like keeping this going to honor his life.

Ryne Barber said...

Really sorry to hear that man. If you need any help with getting your blog back up and going again, let me know!

RIP Joe

Leah Smith said...

I'm here to help whenever you need it. Just let me know. You're the bestest friend anyone could ask for. xoxo

Chris Hewson said...

Joe sounds like he was a great guy! Sorry for your loss.

giovanni deldio said...

He sounds like he was such great guy. But, it's so clear he had an amazing friend in you. I'm truly sorry for your loss, bro.

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