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Barnaby's World

This morning when I woke up, I saw the rain and decided to get ready fast so I could catch the bus to take me to the GVSU bus, instead of riding my bike. As I ate, the rain let up and I decided to ride my bike, but still leave early so I could setup for a training I had at the lab. I changed into my shorts and sandals, put my pants and shoes in my bag, as I'd done yesterday, and pulled my yellow Radiohead anorak over my head. I took the trash and headed downstairs.

As I stood on the porch, pulling my bike out of the entryway, I heard several loud honks in the intersection and saw a car stopped with the car behind it honking. I continued watching for a few seconds and saw the car go in reverse and hit the car behind it. The man who was honking was now shouting out his window, "What the fuck are you doing?" The drivers got out, then quickly got back in. The offender parked her car behind Tom's and the victim pulled alongside Tom's car and got out to inspect the damage.

The drivers then spoke to each other. The man was angry that he'd been hit so carelessly and the woman was apologetic and assured him that she had insurance. They asked to exchange information and the man wanted to contact the police but neither had cell phones. The woman asked a passing driver and a man walking if they had phones, but neither did. While I started walking to put the trash in the bin, the man asked, "Excuse me. Sorry. Do you have a cellular phone?" I regretfully nodded and as I approached, I realized that the man was WOOD TV 8's Gerry Barnaby: the man who does all the lame human interest stories and is constantly smiling. This is the man who was angrily yelling, "What the fuck are you doing? Was your radio too loud? I honked!" at the shaken woman. I handed the woman my phone and put the trash away.

I then walked back up to the porch and waited to get my phone back so I could go to work. I took some pictures but was very nervous and was laughing too much to steady my camera.

I half-hoped Barnaby would announce to me, "Hi, I'm WOOD TV 8's Gerry Barnaby!" or ask, "Hi, do you know who I am?" all smug/sleezeball like, really proud of himself, but simultaneously displaying that charm he shows on television. He didn't. I also thought about asking for a picture either of him, with him, of him with the woman, or of him with the car. But I thought that might feed his ego too. And I was too shy.

Barnaby moved his car out of the way and I walked back down when I saw the woman finishing up the call and Barnaby talked to me. "Gosh. Man, I was honking at her, Honk! Honk! But she, ha, backed up and hit me!" He was talking to me really familiarly like he talks to the TV audience. I asked him if his car was okay, because it looked fine. He told me, "Oh, there's just a ding. But it's a Jetta, so that'll be a thousand bucks." Right then the woman gave me the phone, thanked me and I told them both 'good luck'.

As I mounted my bike, now quite late for work, I heard the woman tell him, "Well, I got insurance. So, it won't be any trouble." Barnaby told her, "Yep, you're at fault, so I won't have to pay anything. So it's okay."

Now, it was her fault, and it did shake him up and she hit his car and made him deservedly mad, but he still seemed like the bad guy in the situation somehow. I wondered, was he too mad? Is it because I've always seen him as this ridiculous, friendly local TV personality and any sign of real emotion changes him and it's just too hard to deal with? The woman was very apologetic and felt bad, but I do wonder what the fuck she was doing.

I called the lab and arranged for them to have it ready for my 10-minute late arrival. My dress shirt was wrinkled under the anorak and I had to change into my pants. I passed by the lab and the professor saw me through the window and, annoyed, banged on the glass for me to hurry up. I quickly rushed into my office and changed into my pants, but took off my dress shirt, leaving me with just the undershirt. As I ran into the lab, Mael asked why I wasn't dressy today and I apologized to the class, announcing that I had to assist in a car accident. The professor asked if I was okay and I continued.

I made copies to give to the students and Mael saw me in the copy room and asked if I'd showered. I was fairly on edge at this point and took my stack of copies and smacked her arm with it. I apologized and was sick with myself that I'd do something like that. I'm not an angry person and never resort to violence, but I can't help but blame it on that motherfucker Gerry Barnaby. What the fuck was that woman doing?


oh my god kevin, this is your most amazing animation yet!

i concur with george. but seriously, what a jerk. i would have said something along the lines of "it was clearly an accident, so give her a break." or at least, i would have wanted to. but probably would have chickened out.

thanks. yeah, i'm too chicken to do anything.

personally, i'm a little shocked that gerry barnaby doesn't have a cell phone.

who doesn't have a cell phone?

gerry barnaby.


it's always strange if you see a local tv personality around town... but that's just outta control.

Let's talk about the real jerk in this story.

The professor.

What kind of Adult bangs on a glass window like an orangutan. (I cant believe that is the proper spelling of that word.)

Nice post.

Gerry came out and did a story with me this summer. He did have a cell phone then, a Nextel. He did seem to be a pretty nice guy when I talked to him. You wouldn't get mad if someone wrecked your car? At least initially? yeesh....

So I left Grand Rapids a few years ago, but still have vivid nightmares of barnaby once in a while.

I saw him at Woodland mall back in the day. He didn't seem likable or friendly. Fuck gerry barnaby! He'll get his karma returned soon enough.

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