A Man Who Wrote It Down Every Day

For the last five years, Bob Powers has written a short story pretty much every day. The result is hundreds and hundreds of short, wonderful pieces, all available on on his blog, Girlsarepretty.com.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

About a month ago on the BPP, we met a man named Bob Powers.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Hi, Bob!

MARTIN: Hey, Bob!

Mr. BOB POWERS (Blogger, GirlsArePretty.com): Hey, Alison. Hi, Rachel.

MARTIN: He's here right now. For the last five years, Bob has written a story pretty much every day on his blog. It's called GirlsArePretty.com. OK, that's hundreds and hundreds of short, wonderful stories every day. Takes a lot of discipline.

Mr. POWERS: Yep.

MARTIN: Bob just got a new job, and in the adjustment, his short story production has slowed, but only slightly.

Mr. POWERS: Just a little.

MARTIN: We understand. There's plenty of new stuff since the last time we saw him. So, we have invited him back to BPP studios to read us a few of his works.

STEWART: I have to ask a question first, Bob.

Mr. POWERS: Yeah.

STEWART: I don't think we asked this last time, and afterward I was kicking myself.

MARTIN: Go for it.

STEWART: GirlsArePretty.com?

Mr. POWERS: Uh, where did I come up with that?

STEWART: Yeah, why isn't it BobPowersWritesAShortStory.com? SomethingsGoingToComeOutOfThisComputertoday.com?

MARTIN: Because, Alison, girls are pretty.

Mr. POWERS: They are, yeah, it's a - you know, it's self-evident, it's all right there, and yeah, it's just something - I remember I put it on a t-shirt that I was selling at shows that I used to do a long time ago, just as a random phrase that I thought was pretty cool.

STEWART: Don't over-think it, Alison.

Mr. POWERS: Exactly.

MARTIN: And there is a random element to your stories.

Mr. POWERS: Yeah, that's right.

MARTIN: Let's get to one. Let's start with February 27th.

Mr. POWERS: OK. That is "You Were on Last Night's Rerun of 'NCIS' Day."

Mr. POWERS: (Reading) The emails have been pouring in all day long. Great job on last night's "NCIS"! Hey, I thought I already saw that episode but I must have missed you the first time! Hey, I didn't know you even acted, but last night you were on that show "NCIS," which is just like "CSI," except there's an N.

You're not an actor. You sell paint at a Tru Value. You don't know what everyone is talking about, but apparently someone who looks just like you was on "NCIS" last night. The weird part is when CBS forwards a bag of fan mail to you. It's all from the elderly.

I think you're very attractive, and I'd like to get you naked and tell you what my experience of World War II was like, the letters read.

You contact the network, and you're told that you were indeed on "NCIS" last night. Don't sweat it, the head of CBS' parent company tells you. It started happening in season three. People just started appearing on the show without having any memory of doing so. We can't explain it. It just happens. Eventually, everyone's going to be on "NCIS." At least for a few seconds.

The head of CBS' parent company goes on to explain that it's kind of a great way to get the ratings up, having people find out from out of nowhere that they were on the show. Then he asks you what "NCIS" is, because he's never heard of it.

You start tuning in to "NCIS" regularly, waiting for your rerun. When you finally see yourself, it's really you. Standing in the background behind some people who are in the Navy, you're just standing there in clothes you don't own, staring straight into the camera. You lock eyes with yourself and you can see how sad you look, how disappointed you are in everything you've become. The you on "NCIS" looks down at the ground, ashamed. You get up and turn off the TV. You can't bear to look anymore. .TEXT: Happy You Were On Last Night's Rerun of 'NCIS' Day!

MARTIN: Is that a secret dream of yours?

Mr. POWERS: To be on, yeah. Well, I have to watch the show first. It's one of those shows that - I think it does very well, honestly, but I know when I mention it to people, no one knows what it is.

MARTIN: Well, I do want to get to one more. you do these every day, and I want to hear the story from March 20 - no, I want to hear the story from March 10th. let's do that one.

Mr. POWERS: March 10th, OK. That is "Goodbye Sal Of Sal's Hoagies and Cheesesteaks Day."

Mr. POWERS: (Reading) Today immediately after slicing his one millionth Italian hoagie into two halves, Sal of Sal's Hoagies and Cheesesteaks will slice into his own throat and drop to the floor of his kitchen to die.

Guess Sal hit a million, Louie, one of his faithful lunch crowd, will say as he watches the puddle of blood seep from behind the counter into the seating area.

I knew this day was coming, Jerry, another of Sal's loyal customers will say. But I didn't do anything to prepare for it. What the heck am I gonna eat for lunch now?

Jerry will crumple up his counter ticket. He has 58. The LED screen reads 55. Just three sandwiches short of getting that legendary millionth roll of the finest cold cuts, veggies and oil.

Call an ambulance, a new customer will shout. Call an ambulance!

But no one will move. The ones who already got their food will eat their sandwiches in honor of their faithful chef. The ones who didn't will weep at their tables, staring at their useless ticket numbers, wondering why they couldn't have left work just a few minutes early to get just one last heaping pile of deliciousness before they have to resort to hitting the Arby's five times a week.

STEWART: And if you want to hear the rest of that story, people are going to have to log on to your site.

MARTIN: GirlsArePretty.com. Bob Powers, thanks for coming in!

STEWART: Thanks, Bob. We're sorry we have to cut you short.

Mr. POWERS: No, that's OK.

MARTIN: This is the BPP from NPR News.

STEWART: That was...

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.