Along with money
intemperance. Like a
hipster Saint Augustine,
he began feeling
miserable. He was a
slave to his habits.
Catholic family in Texas and Mississippi, he was the only boy among five
children. With an artistic personality,
he clashed frequently with a num-bers-oriented father. When Bobby was
a teenager, he and his dad came to a
mutual agreement—Bobby must leave
home. The boy also left the church.
He joined the army at age 17
and stayed for five years. His com-
manders liked his work and gave
him responsibility as a trainer who
prepared young soldiers for the Gulf
War in 1991. What he did off-duty
was another matter. He partied hard
with booze, drugs, and sex. With
every paycheck, he got a new tattoo.
After discharge, he embraced art
and painting, and he worked briefly
for Tower Records in New York.
He saw tattoo artists making good
money and entered the field, earning
as much as $100 an hour. “It was go-
ing to be a wonderful life,” he says.
Along with money came more
intemperance. But, like a hipster
Saint Augustine, he began feeling
miserable. He was a slave to his hab-
its. “I got to this point of hopeless-
ness,” he says.
Trying to fill the void, he got
married a few times and traveled:
New York, Houston, Austin, Seattle,
New Orleans. It was in the latter city
that a close friend was murdered
brutally on a sunny Tuesday after-
noon. The shock changed Love.
“It was so sudden, so quick, so
unexpected that I thought, ‘This
could happen to me. And if this were
to happen to me today, I’m going to
hell. No getting around it. Absolute-
ly. One-way ticket.’ ”
He responded to this new aware-
ness in a way that felt familiar to
him: He had “Have mercy” tattooed
across his shoulders. “If by some
chance I ended up at the gates, I had
no defense. I just hoped God would
have mercy,” he says. “That was my
first prayer as an adult man.”
He asked himself why he felt
so miserable when he had so much
money and fun. It occurred to him
that, despite his last name, his life
was devoid of love.
He realized he had disposed of
essential parts of himself—family
Enter #110 at VocationMatch.com