Coming off the holiday weekend, we needed a break from the hard-hitting news figures we usually interview for this weekly column. Most unfortunately, we chose Doug Robarchek as our diversion. Also known as the “OutFront Guy” and “Doug-Bob,” Robarchek wrote the most irreverent, crosses-the-line column the Observer ever dared to publish. Mercifully, he retired in 2005, after 43 years in the business. Not a man to play by the rules, Robarchek has written his own intro, questions and answers. Staff writer Jennifer Rothacker opted to leave it in its entirety, despite her better judgment.
Another call from a babe who knows my reputation and thinks I'm the answer to a prayer? Well listen, sister -- you can't live vicariously through me. Don't try to jazz up your own drab existence by prying into my rock-star life.
I'm a PERSON, with needs and dreams and feelings of my own.
You can't just call any time and expect me to come running. There may be times when I am unavailable. Like at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 12, when I'll be at the office of Main Street Rag, signing copies of my book, “The Best of the World's Worst Poetry – 20 Very Odd Years of OutFrontery.”
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Besides, like most guys, I hate to talk about myself. But since you asked:
I'm a thinker, Jen. A deep, profound thinker, and I don't apologize for it. Now that I'm retired, I read voraciously (man, I can't BELIEVE what Brad is putting Angelina through!) and ponder what it all means.
I also travel. So far this year I've spent time in London, San Francisco, Boston, the suburbs of Waxhaw, and Chicago. This month I'll be in Berlin for a friend's wedding. Next month I go, like all the Beautiful People, to Wichita, Kan., to visit my brother.
I don't miss writing my column, even though it had its rewards. I enjoyed writing poems for it. As I wrote in the brilliant introduction to my book, “The Best of the World's Worst Poetry – 20 Very Odd Years of OutFrontery”: Over the years my poems began to generate more and more buzz – letters, phone calls and e-mails. But I kept writing them anyway, and now I've decided to collect some of the least-abominable ones in book form.
Did I mention the book? Published by Main Street Rag, it debuted quietly, with little fanfare. But as time passed it began to build momentum, and after just a few months, somebody bought one.
And why not? The book, “The Best of the World's Worst Poetry – 20 Very Odd Years of OutFrontery,” is available at better bookstores everywhere for only $14, making it the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for person. Stock up now for Christmas. One size fits all.
But forgive me – I know you prefer a question-and-answer format. Let me pose some tough, hard-hitting questions for myself, and then handle them as well as I can:
Charlotte Observer: You are an extraordinarily, almost a preternaturally handsome man, Doug. Does that bother you?
No. Not at all. I never think about it.
CO: Have any new books out?
Just one. It's called “The Best of the World's Worst Poetry – 20 Very Odd Years of OutFrontery,” and it can be found in fine bookstores everywhere.
CO: Is it really, really good?
Yes. Yes, it is.
CO: Could I get one for, say, $14 (plus tax)?
Yes. While you were at it, you could buy several.