On a Tough Sergeant

Look at the photo. Man, Bob was tough. School bored him, so he dropped out in the ninth grade. As an 18 year old, in 1961, he joined the Air Force, and he quickly became a master sergeant. It was the perfect job for a guy that tough. He loved the authority, the power, the respect as well as the responsibility that his position gave him.

Stationed in Alaska, Bob also came to really love the sweeping vistas, the soaring mountain ranges, the closeness of nature that the Great Land displays in spades. You might think that the tough and mean master sergeant would not care about nature, but Bob grew to love it in Alaska.

Bob was that the guy in the military, in his own words, “Who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work.” He was so good at yelling, apparently, that, over his 20 year career, having to be the tough guy began to take its toll on Bob. He started to look for some way to unwind, someway to escape the responsibility and the pressure that came from the mean side of himself.

At a local USO in Alaska, classes were offered that provided the opportunity for Bob to pick up a hobby. So, almost on a whim, he took the classes. He found out that he was good at them. He found that he enjoyed the release that his new hobby and burgeoning talent provided him. He enjoyed it so much, that he decided it was time to retire and pursue his hobby full-time.

He also promised himself that he would never raise his voice again. The years of the mean, tough Bob were over. That yelling, tough guy was to be replaced by an almost Zen-like Bob who is today known all over the world and almost revered as an icon of calm.

Bob’s hobby? You know that, too. You see, Bob became a painter.

You know him as Bob Ross.

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