Rob and I used to play CD-ROM computer games together when he was a little boy back in the ’90s and our two favorites were Full Throttle and Dust.
Full Throttle was basically about Ben, the leader of a biker gang, who’s framed for a murder, and that’s all I really remember other than him getting into all types of trouble where he had to kick ass while encountering obstacle after obstacle that we helped him overcome.
Dust was a little more interactive as it put you right inside the game as “the stranger” in a town called Diamondback (which, of course, I had to Google) and the deal was that we had to talk to the townspeople and figure out all kinds of elaborate puzzles and secrets. Rob would sit on my lap for hours as we navigated the gunslingers, gold prospectors and numerous hot babes in the saloon. In other words, they were the perfect two games for the average seven-year-old and his middle-aged dad.
So you can only imagine the great pride I felt some 20 years later when the pupil had become the teacher and Rob sat me down to show me how to use Reddit and Snapchat. Reddit was Rob’s go-to. He hated Facebook and Twitter (although he once hijacked my account which is another story for another day) and was on Snapchat early on using the handle Hashinberg18 to post photos of the marijuana plants he was growing when he lived in Binghamton.
We decided to start with Reddit and after downloading the app, he simply showed me all of the subreddits he followed. There are too many to name here, but some of his favorites that quickly became mine were Nature Is Fucking Lit, Kids Are Fucking Stupid, Black Magic Fuckery, Animals Being Bros, Hittable Faces, Oddly Satisfying, Shower Thoughts and Old School Cool. I spent hours going down each one of these peculiar rabbit holes that interested him and was always surprised and delighted to see how much I shared his tastes, to say nothing of possibly influencing them.
He then showed me the finer points of using Snapchat, but I never took to it. He was pretty much the only person I knew on it and he’d occasionally send me a snap, but then he’d have to text me that he did because otherwise I never thought to open the app. The only good thing about Snapchat was when Rob introduced me to Bitmoji, which are sort of personal emojis that you can customize to look like yourself. He helped me build mine and there’s a vague resemblance, but his was absolutely killer. From the glasses to the eye color to the body type to the facial expressions, his Bitmoji was his spitting image but what made it pure Rob was that his avatar always wore a cat suit.
He mostly sent them to me whenever we texted and it always cracked me up to see him in the cat suit reading a book or eating pancakes or saying sleep tight while riding on top of a sheep. There was just something about it that always made me think of him as a little boy in his pajamas sitting on my lap all those years ago, staying up way past his bedtime, playing our favorite games late into the night.