Excerpt: GORILLA SUIT by Bob Paris (c)

Rediscovering the Accidentally Discovered

Late Spring, 1977 – Southern Indiana 

“Cummin’s Book Store was in downtown Columbus. They had the best newsstand in town. I went in one afternoon looking for the latest issue of my favorite backpacking magazine and ran across a copy of ‘Muscle Builder’ on the shelf. On the cover was a picture of some guy named Schwarzenegger, doing an exercise with his gigantic arm up over his head and a straining grimace on his face. His sweaty, dark hair hung down in his face, and he had on a light-colored tank top, and the arm and hand that weren’t over his head was grabbing on to a bench of some kind, the fingers squeezing into the brown leather, fingernails white from the pressure.

I began to pore through the pages, devouring the pictures of these guys training and showing their tremendously muscled bodies, bursting out of T-shirts or without shirts on or flexing on a beach with mountains in the background…According to what I could tell…these men occupied a terrific kingdom all their own, out in California.”

Excerpted from: GORILLA SUIT © by Bob Paris all rights reserved

ISBN 0-312-16855-1

photo: Art Zeller 1989 (c) Bob Paris all rights reserved

Joe Weider's Death

Several of you have written to ask my feelings regarding Joe Weider’s death this past Saturday.

It’s essential to start by extending my warmest thoughts and prayers to Joe’s wife, Betty (who was always so dear and sweet to me). I know that in her time of grief, she’ll be surrounded by loving family and friends. Also, to those who loved Joe and were close to him, I offer heartfelt condolences. It’s never easy when someone we care for fades from our material lives. Memories may be lucid and powerful, but physical proximity is primal. It may surprise some to learn that Joe and I considered each other friends. And even though ours was a relationship filled with serious ups and downs, it was also a testimony to the ways in which we fragile humans can be like oil and water, can drive each other to absolute distraction and yet, in the end, respect each others’ underlying spirit. That was Joe and me: These two headstrong men, each trying to make his way in an often confounding world, who could argue one day and then sit down to share a meal and a joke the next. I would also suggest to those who mainly saw a darker shade of Joe that there is extraordinary power in the act of approaching the day-to-day humanity of another person with humility and a willingness to forgive and move forward. After all, who among us wouldn’t wish that even our most ardent adversaries might cut us a bit of slack; might see the world through our eyes, if only for a fleeting moment. I am eternally grateful to Joe for giving me -- a shy kid from the sticks, who was using bodybuilding as a tool to battle back nihilism and save his own life -- that first real break. Those were times at once innocent and complicated, and I’m glad Joe and I shared a bit of the road together. Travel easy, Joe. You were one of a kind.


Well, Spring has finally arrived – or at least it has here in coastal British Columbia! And I, for one, can’t wait to shake off those Winter blahs (I tend to spend a lot of the dark and dreary months locked away in my writing room). I’m hungering to get back outside, into the air and the woods and out on the water.

Hope you'll join me in taking life by the horns, each of us pursuing our own unique brand of authenticity, creativity, drive and compassion. Beyond all that, please strive to be kind to each other. 

Cheers and Namaste,


Official Bob Paris (c) 2013 all rights reserved