What about Bob?

Geezer Bob, after a tussle with his grandson

By Bob Raukar

A sixth-grade elementary-school field trip to the Daily American Republic newspaper in my hometown of Poplar Bluff, MO, set the stage for the next 25 years of my life. The field trip ended in the pressroom where that day’s edition was readied for print. My classmates and I watched as the press operators clambered over the towering multi-unit press making minute adjustments as huge rolls of newsprint slowly threaded through the black behemoth. Faster and faster the press rumbled as completed newspapers slipped out onto a conveyor belt. The cavernous room shook from the fury of the thundering machine. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to be a newspaperman.

My so-called formative years were influenced by books and music. Journalism became my profession and music was my avocation. A lifelong lingering regret is that I have no actual musical talent. Multiple aborted attempts to learn the guitar never materialized beyond three basic chords. I learned I couldn’t carry a tune in a bushel basket even though I dreamed of mesmerizing adoring crowds with face-melting guitar solos while throngs of groupies awaited me backstage. Alas, I had to be content with music as a listener not a player. An embarrassing moment in a concert crowd at Hearnes Auditorium in Columbia, when I realized I was clapping out of sync with the thousands of concertgoers, still haunts me decades later.

Books and music lifted me out of the confines of the provincial Southeast Missouri city I called home. I was the weird teenager who when he told his parents he was going to the library actually went to the library. Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy and Creem magazines clued me into music that never made it to the top 40 and country stations in my small city. I have a T-shirt that reads, “I may be old but I got to see the really cool bands.” So true. I don’t recommend growing old, but at least my generation had some great movies and music that we listened to through massive floor speakers.

My early exposure to the Fourth Estate led to staff positions on the high-school yearbook and newspaper and editorship of the community-college newspaper in my hometown. I wrote for the newspaper at Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University) in Springfield and served as a news intern for KBUG radio. In my junior year, I served on the Campus Union Board committee that booked concerts for MacDonald Arena. We assisted road crews in setting up and taking down the stage. I know what Jackson Browne means when he sings, “Let the roadies take the stage, Pack it up and tear it down. They're the first to come and the last to leave.”

In addition to expanding my mind through higher education, the other benefit of my university experience was meeting my best friend, Scott Sharp, one of the few people actually taller than me and whose birthday is the day after mine. He traveled 1,500 miles round-trip to be my best man. Our friendship began around a shared obsession with the music of The Doors and survived the first thing I said upon meeting him: “Dude, do you know you look like Mick Jagger?” Scott is the creator of this trip down music lane and has offered me space to spout my unqualified opinions.

After 15 years of highs and lows as an ink-stained wretch ("As I look back over a misspent life, I find myself more and more convinced that I had more fun doing news reporting than in any other enterprise. It is really the life of kings." H.L. Mencken) I heeded the words of Jim Morrison: “Took a look around, see which way the wind blows.” I survived the 1980s, a horrible decade for newspapers as closures and mergers of competing publications accelerated, but I was tired of the instability. In the first of many midlife crises, I switched careers and served for 23 years as a firefighter and paramedic. I went from reporting the news to making the news. 

In between all that came marriage, kids and a home in the Kansas City suburbs. I lived in a house with a wife, two daughters and two female dogs. I swam in the estrogen ocean every day. There was little time for the days of yore when I argued for hours with compatriots about who is the best guitarist or the greatest singer, whether prog rock is pretentious or Mick Jagger a good singer considering you can’t understand anything he says. 

Now retired and an empty-nester, I am on a journey of re-self-discovery. I guess I really am an old geezer. I can’t relate to hip hop, rap or shoegaze so I am revisiting the music that impacted my life through the years. I’m also searching out genres that I initially dismissed or overlooked. This little project that Scott and I are embarking on should be a fun thing. I am not qualified to be a critic of Lester Bangs’ stature. I just know what I like and what it meant (means) to me. If you stick with us, dear reader, you will find me more mainstream and Scott much more avant garde. I think we’ll make a good team.

Want to contact me? Send an email to bob@geezerology.com.


  1. This cool guy here is my dad! Wow! To see your journey of " re-self-discovery" I can't wait to read more. Thank you for sharing your stories and insight have so much to offer really proud of you.

  2. Thanks, Marissa. Looks like I didn't totally fail in your upbringing.

  3. Wow what a journey, too make a discussion that effect your reality, and that’s tuff. Even now you still haven’t lost your creativity and that’s what matters too a happy healthy life. Your wise man, I appreciate this blog and you.

  4. Bob, like your writers background-I think there is a story to be written about Atlee Yeager. Tim Lord


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