One of the More Interesting Trips with Shel

December 5, 2009

by Charlie Roberts

I went on various trips with Shel between 1984 and 1986. We’d usually leave Ocean Beach in Shel’s car around 10 AM.

Personal Hygiene Note: He kept a bar of Irish Spring soap under a car seat, having sliced off a piece to use the soap as a car deodorizer, which was really practical. The car not only smelled “fresh as an Irish morn”, but no doubt the soap would come in handy if we got stuck in LA traffic on a hot afternoon and might need to freshen up a bit (!).

One particular morning we were starting our trek, sitting at the light at West Point Loma Blvd. and Sunset Cliffs. He mentioned having problems with his toupee. I glanced over and noticed a small piece of masking tape sticking out of the front edge of said hairpiece.

“This damned thing,” Shel said, trying to adjust it before the light turned green.

I answered, “Why do you wear that?”

Shel said, “What?”

I repeated the query.

Shel said, “You know, you’re right!”

He pulled it off his head and tossed it out the window as the light simultaneously turned green. We were off to LA, leaving the Ocean Beach version of Premium Road Kill lying to bake on the asphalt in the morning sun.

If only eBay had been around then, what a great collectible that would have been! Hopefully someone adopted it, assuming it was one of those newfangled Chia Pats. Maybe they named it “Bob” and they’re still watering it today, waiting for it to grow. We can only hope for the best here folks!

Shel was like a new man on that trip, enjoying having fresh air on his bald pate and admiring his “new look” all the way to the 101 while smiling at all the other cars.

He proudly had his head tilted down in his Comic-Con Program Book photo that year.

As comic book and comic strip geeks, we all have our idiosyncrasies, but we’re all human and in this together. I’m reminded of a quote my wife Joan’s stepfather George Rabb told me years ago: “All the world’s a little strange, excepting thee and me……and at times I find you quite peculiar”.

I remember the 60’s when “Baggies” were the only way to protect comics. If you had a “real” job, you never told anyone you liked old comic books. I had a major disagreement with a Post Office counter person in 1968, when I wanted to insure a comic for $ 10 and mail it.

Fortunately those days are pretty well over, and we owe quite a debt to Shel Dorf, Ken Krueger, Mike Towry, Richard Alf, Phil Seuling, G.B. Love, Ted Hake, Jerry Bails, Don Maris, Russ Cochran, Jim Ivey, and many others who paved the way and have given us Respectability.

Thank You All! Gratefully,

Charlie Roberts

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

David Scroggy December 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm

It was a red letter day when Shel dumped that rug of his. Like most of his pals, I responded to his “new look” by complimenting him and telling him how much better he looked.

I can remember various previous “repair jobs” – not only masking tape as Charlie describes, but also attempts with magic marker to re-blacken the exposed weave. It didn’t work- in fact smearing with marker highlighted the contrast.

Shel felt liberated when he went “au naturel”, and I think the rest of us did, too.

I also recall once when the tenants of our little cluster of cottages went early to try to sell our junk at the Spring Valley swap meet. We had to leave really early, and I remember Shel and I had to ride in the back of a pickup truck along with the stuff. It was windy anyway, and between that and riding in the open truck, it was a relentless struggle between Shel and the elements to keep that toupee on his head. It almost flew off a couple of times, but Shel was grappling with it. It was like watching someone wrestling an eel. Shel won that particular encounter, and emerged with hairpiece still in situ. Well sort of- I guess you could say it was “listing to starboard”.


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