Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Robert Schimmel - brother; funny, ill, pain in the ass

My brother, Robert Schimmel was in a terrible car accident. He is badly injured, but his need for a liver transplant actually exacerbates his situation...and ability to heal. The past several days have been a living horror show for Robert's family. In addition, his daughter Aliyah was also badly hurt. Neither of them were responsible for the accident, but those details are not as important as hoping for their recovery.

We all love Bob [we've known him longer] and are hoping he'll snap out of it, make a recovery and stay with us... but man, he was on our last nerve.

Things you might not know about Robert: Obviously, he's funny, he always has been. He was a musician & composer way before comedy. He is incredibly generous; to a fault...he has a penchant for gadgets [electronics & cameras] and pens [who needs so many sharpies?]...and is the condiment king [try this mustard] and foodie [thank him for the success of Bristol Farms, Whole Foods and A.J.'s]. He is gracious to almost everyone and a good friend to only a few. 

He loves his children. Parenting is not one of his skills, but unconditional love is.

Blame it on his liver, if you like - but Bob is so unorganized...bordering on hoarder behavior. This was making us crazy. He moved in with my Dad a few months ago - bringing a huge mess to an orderly house. We lost our Mother just days before, but Bob is going through a divorce and waiting for a transplant...seemed like a good idea to have him close.

He was at my house just before we went on vacation, he saw my Dick Blick catalog. He said "this must be like porn for you."

My husband & I were in North Carolina - and visited Biltmore House, where "Being There" was filmed. Peter Sellers was one of Bob's idols, and he liked this movie. The day of the accident, I tried calling him, so I sent photos of the house to him [and my brother Jeff], letting them know where we were. Here's a still from the movie... I was thinking of Bob. At the end of the movie, the main character "Chance" walks on water. My interpretation has always been Chance is so innocent, so child-like - he doesn't know he is supposed to sink. Bob is kind of like that.

the end of the movie... "Being There."

Right now, Bob is currently walking on water - or floating on love - a description a doctor made when Bob's son was at home in hospice care...almost 18 years ago.

I have no idea what Bob's chances are, or what we can expect for him. But if he makes it, I started a list of things he needs to do, and my brother Jeff added to it. Maybe you can think of more.

Things Robert Schimmel still needs to do [not necessarily in this order]: 

1. Go to Smeeks [a candy store in Phoenix]

2. Take a cruise to and/or visit Alaska

3. Go on stage and hear the laughter and applause again

4. Watch his children and grandchild[ren] grow up

5. Heal

6. Clean his room

7. Get a liver... new or used

8. Have... a little Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar in his morning juice

9. Drive his sports car [now that it's repaired]

10. Use his keyboard

11. Perform a come-back special

12. Enjoy his life

13. Finally go to Hungary with our Dad

14. Thank everyone for their prayers

Please help me with more... I hope he can read it someday soon.

 Jeff Schimmel More things Robert Schimmel still needs to do:

(a) read the instruction manuals for all of his electronic gadgets.
(b) sell most of the same unused electronic gadgets on eBay.
(c) track down all of the teachers he terrorized over the years and... apologize to them.
(d) do a video blog for more than three days without quitting.
(e) go on Howard Stern's show without divulging embarrassing family secrets.
(f) write another book, but this time about being the recipient of a successful liver transplant.
(g) stop chewing ice.
(h) stop falling asleep while eating Creamsicles in bed.
(i) stop hitting dolls in the head with hammers.
(j) stop driving Dad crazy.
(k) get a sunburn, if that's possible.
(l) hit a Royal Flush with me on a poker machine.
(m) watch the news just once.
(n) record a new CD.
(o) finish that screenplay.
(p) start that screenplay.
(q) mop up the chocolate syrup you drip on the kitchen floor while under the influence of Ambien.
(r) make me laugh.
(s) do the fucking Letterman show.
(t) instantly make up filthy lyrics to songs on the radio.
(u) start writing in cursive.
(v) date a woman who is within a decade of your own age.
(w) sneak into another movie theater with me.
(x) imitate Granny.
(y) not let me have to be the only one who gets dragged to Mickey and Lili's house.
(z) wake up.

We love you and we're waiting for you, Bob.



Viviana G. said...

Love the article!
Robert, I didn't know about the accident... All I have is Your last post in FB. I was wondering aobut you.Get well.We love you! Thanks!

Harry said...

I have Bob to thank for a lot of firsts in my life. Or, maybe we had each other to thank. Some were good, some not so good.
I'll share a few:
That first cigarette. Bob's a few years older than me but way back when, he had hair & looked younger. So, I would always have to buy the smokes. One day we decided to buy a carton, couldn't decide on the brand, so we bought 10 different ones to make up the carton. It was kinda hard to hide a carton from our parents, so we tried them all & got sick.
That first drunk & hangover. We raided his dad's liquor cabinet & taste tested all of it while listening to Jimi Hendrix Are You Experience side A for 4 hours. To this day I only listen to side B. After puking in his back yard, I had to go home for dinner. I guess egg liquor & scotch didn't mix well.
We wrote our first songs together in 1965 & also had our fist band together, The Strange Ones. We knew 5 songs & played them over & over at our one & only gig.
That fist bike crash. One day while riding our bikes, Bob wanted to know what would happen if he stuck his foot in the spokes of my front wheel. I crashed. I still have that bike & I'd like it fixed someday Bob.
Our first drive. Bob got the keys to his parents 1964 Chevy II & we took a joy ride. Everything would have been fine if he hadn't broke down his parents bedroom door to get the keys.
Bob's first nice car. He got a brand new Triumph Spitfire. He took me for a ride & then pulled into his parents garage. When we left, he opened the drivers door to see while backing up & ripped it right off the car.
Bob's first double date. He made a date with 2 girls the same day. They both showed up at his house at the same time while we were sitting on his porch. He ran away & left me there with them.
There are lots of others. Some I might share some day, some I won't. Special times with a special friend.
Hurry up & get well buddy. There's still a few things to add to this list....

jamesorike said...

nice article, boss.
i hope bob heals up - accident on top of cancer on top of liver on top of just being a loudmouth - karma is not bob's friend. oh, except for the whole successful comedian thing.

you tapped into my favorite ending of all time (close 2nd is the end of funny games). being there is brilliant and rarely do people recognize sellers genius therein or the endings flawless conclusion to chance-the-gardener's ascent.

Justine Klingher said...

Bob, when I think about you I remember our date at the cemetary. You walking next to me as calm as lake... of course funny. Then low and behold... you fell into the open grave. You were always one to steal the show! Get well soon my old friend. You have touched the lives of so many and you still have more memories to create!

JannyDare said...

1.Plant sunflowers with your grandkids.
2. Go on a zip line tour in Costa Rica.
3.Audition for Chippendales?

Debrah Bachrach said...

I also have Bob to thank for a lot of wonderful, wild, crazy, and fun times in my life. First he taught me how to rebel and sneak. Man, how my boring world changed. Our speeding down Hungry Hollow Road in the MG & up to the forbidden Three Fold Farms. Staring at clouds and laughing at how HE saw them. One of my favorite memories was the day we were in your bedroom; my back was to you checking out your stuff on your dresser. I turned around cuz you were cracking me up to find your back was to me; you were facing the wall standing on your bed performing on your “air-stage” in front of an audience. Then reality set in when your mom yelled “open the door and come down for dinner”. DINNER - at your house. Your mom was an excellent cook. There we were, Sandy sitting at the table like the well mannered young girl; yet Jeff was not as fortunate a sibling. Against your dads warnings you continued cracking jokes at the table and poor Jeff couldn’t stop laughing and got in trouble. Bob finally admitting to me last month that a specific joke he tells on stage IS OUR SECRET. You will always have that special place in my heart. A belated apology to Betty and Otto for when Bob broke into your room (not to look for keys like with Harry-- we were innocently looking to steal a kiss in the wrong place and got busted. Bob, you said to me a few weeks ago “It was nice talking to you too. Right now, our talks our like a vacation for me mentally and emotionally, and I never take them for granted. I'm glad we reconnected. Talk to you later. Love, Robert”. Robert, I want you to heal soon, not just for my selfish reasons, but the world is waiting for your humor on this chapter in your life, which will bring more, much needed laughter to all of those who love you. My best to the Schimmel family for this special person to make a speedy recovery. Debrah Bachrach

jacqui said...

What a great letter to your brother..all the things that he must do..well another I can think of after reading about his last few make peace with his God (who ever that is to him)..he seems to have had many lessons shouted at him...maybe he is just not listening?

All the best to Bob and everyone he loves and loves him..

JazzDiva & "jill" of all trades... said...

Well...I am at a loss for words. Something your dear brother or the rest of the
thoughts and prayers are with you and the family at this time. I can use another keyboard player; especially with a sense of humor and wit like Bob.
I remember the first time we met/ back in 1981. He was doing a comedy show in Scottsdale; (where not sits the Nordstroms)...I could not stop laughing. I remembered Jeff told me he sold stereo's....All I could think of was..when did this guy have time to write such "pee in your pants comedy"? I was a fan from that day forward. So keep writing; and we can keep praying...and his next book will be about
"a coma on zero dollars a day" please give hugs to the family. Laura Fial

Harry said...

Bobby, Bobby, Bobby…. This was not the kind of first I was ever hoping to experience with you. But somehow I guess I always knew it would be this way. Things have always seemed to just happen to you through no fault of your own. Well, most of the time anyway.
I’ve spent the last few days reminiscing all the way back through the 46 years I’ve known you. Though we drifted apart from time to time during those years, I don’t recall spending a single day without thinking about you in some way, shape or form. It always amazed me that we could be apart for periods of time & somehow when we got back together, it was like we just saw each other yesterday. There was never a day when we had ill feelings towards each other. We were always able to laugh it off & go on. If only our marriages had been like that… But then, it would have shortened your act considerately.
It takes a caring man to go through so much personal trauma & use that experience to help make other people’s lives better. It takes a strong man to survive so much personal trauma. It takes a man like you to find a way to use your personal trauma to make others smile & forget their cares, even if just for a little while. Others (like me) would have probably not been able to handle it.
To Sandhi, Jeff, Otto & the entire Schimmel family: I have no words to express my sorrow. I have no words to offer you to ease your sorrow. I can only keep believing that someday we all will smile again.
To Bob: Thanks for always giving me something to smile about. My life would have been a lot emptier if I had never known you. I have my memories to keep me going & someday we will meet again. Until then dear friend, save me a front row seat & be sure to leave a comp ticket at the gate. I’m sure I’m gonna need it.

M. Bell said...

Sending heartfelt love to the families upon reading about the transformations into pure spirit of both Betty and Bobby. As a childhood friend of Jeff's, I remember hanging out at the house on Ann Boulevard -- listening to records and writing comedy skits! Bobby's hair was shoulder-length! Jeff sold me Bob's Harmony electric guitar for $15 (my very first electric). Saw Bob perform in SoFla @ 2000 and loved it! May peace and light be with you all.
Marci Bell