Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Oh, there's a bump bump bumperhead here! Thumpin' bumpin' bumper! El Bumpo!"
"What, you've never seen a ten ton bumposity before? Bump thumper! Ba-ba-ba-bumpus!"
"WHOOSH! Bump. Bump."
"Don't get mad, bumpo! BUMP BUMPO BUMP!"
"Why, God? Why did you curse me with a bumperhead?"
His head, of course, is not that big or oddly shaped, but it is enough for Bobby to attract the unwelcome attention of his older neighbours. You never know with Gilbert what autobiographical material gets recycled into his works, by his own admission, but I will bet a pound to a penny, he knew someone who was just such an unfortunate in his childhood days.
Anyway, happily for Bobby, the Bumperhead moniker soon gets dropped and in fact he starts socialising with his tormentors, once the age difference starts to become less meaningful as they grow up and discover the holy trinity of most boys' teenage years: music, girls and drugs. In fact, he is a bit of a ladies' man, our Bobby, changing his favourite highschool squeeze with a regularity even one Arthur Fonzarelli would approve of, I'm sure. He's not quite so motivated in the schoolwork arena though, so as his peers start to go off to college and thus onwards and upwards to bigger and better things, he begins the first of many menial jobs, seeding a future social inequity between himself and others that will continue to flourish.
This lack of commitment, to relationships, to learning, to a career, is the major theme of Bobby's existence, and it's something that whilst he recognises is the source of much, indeed all of his suffering, he seems unable or unwilling to change his trajectory. There are glimpses of what his life might end up like, all too visible, in the shape of his own father. But again, Bobby's either too stubborn or reluctant to see, and more importantly admit, that his own potential future is staring him right in the face. It's like he has subconsciously accepted his fate, whilst all the while blithely assuming something is just going to come along and change everything for him.
You can see one of Gilbert's favourite recurring themes, our formative years, explored thoroughly again here as he did so successfully in MARBLE SEASON, whilst also following the JULIO'S DAY near-cradle-to-grave story arc process of one person's life. I think it's great Gilbert is in such prolific form at this period of his career; he clearly has many stories left to tell, and clearly is no slacker in the application department himself.