An Interview with Punchbag Bob
This past week, after numerous inquiries through adverts in the Neopian Times and leaving posters all around the various Battledomes, I received a Neomail from the infamous, yet most elusive, Punchbag Bob. After trading a few neomails, he consented to meet with me in the Coffee Cave for an interview over lattes and tigersquash cake.
Me: Why are you wearing a cloak, a fedora hat, and such dark sunglasses?
Punchbag Bob: Because everyone keeps trying to hit me with snowballs. The faeries really should look in to having those snowball wands regulated or something. (looks around before sipping some latte) Half the wands out there have come from that stupid wheel out in Faerieland. I would love to see that thing break.
Me: But you are the one who goes around challenging everyone to fights in the Battledome, are you not? So why should it surprise you that people want to fight you? You are like the ultimate Battledome challenge in Neopia.
Punchbag Bob: (sipping) Yes, that’s true – sort of. But most of the time, people hang around the Battledome hoping to find me. Sometimes I’m just popping in to see some of the matches – some of these younger Neopians are really getting good, you know – and people just start pouncing on me. But everyone keeps trying to knock the stuffing out of me! What did I ever do to deserve that?
Me: Well, you are one of the most experienced fighters in Neopia.
Punchbag Bob: I didn’t choose to be that way, though. Everyone likes to have some peace and quiet, and I’m no different. Do you think I set out to accumulate that many hit points? No, ma’am, I did not. If you keep fighting, you are bound to get stronger eventually. But sometimes a guy just wants to take a walk without someone dropping the gloves. Thank goodness my cousin is willing to help me...
Me: Your cousin?
Punchbag Bob: Punchbag Sid. He loves to fight, so sometimes, when things get to be a bit too much, I send him a neomail and he causes a large distraction at the domes so I can slip away for some peaceful recreation – like a Tiki Tour. I sometimes overhear neopets discussing these mysterious “prizes” they can get for defeating us, but that sounds a little far-fetched to me... perhaps they have taken one too many snowballs to the ol’ noggin...
Me: So you two grew up together?
Punchbag Bob: Yes. But whereas I always wanted to read and develop my mind, he was always wanting to try out the latest weapons coming out in Neopia. Anyone meeting us thinks the opposite is true, though -- must be his glasses... and everyone says all that’s in my head is straw... but I’m sure I’m not the only one made of straw who has a brain....
Me: So you hate to fight, then?
Punchbag Bob: No, I don’t hate it. It’s a fun challenge once in a while, actually. Do you go to the Battledome much?
Me: Not really, no.
Punchbag Bob: Ah, then you would not understand. It is a test of honor, strength, courage and – above all – cunning. Anyone can save up enough neopoints to buy a super weapon, but unless the pet using it has some sort of strategy planning, the best weapons can only do so much for its handler. These staffs and flaming swords are all very well, but give me a young Uni with spunk in their hooves and a sharp mind any day. That’s when it is fun. But...
Me: But, what?
Punchbag Bob: (sighing) People go in there specifically to fight me. I’m tired sometimes. So I often slip in disguised. Luckily, it has gotten much easier lately.
Me: Oh? Why is that?
Punchbag Bob: Well, it’s the strangest thing. I mean, clothes have always been available here in Neopia, but no one actually wore them. They just collected them like one collects stamps or coins. But now, everyone is going around with the craziest clothes on. So I bought myself some and I can blend in very well, so long as I make sure none of my stuffing is showing.
Me: Where do you like to go?
Punchbag Bob: Obviously, I cannot be too specific, but I do enjoy going to the beach and getting some sun. Meridell is also fun. Just not Maraqua or Terror Mountain.
Me: Really? I don’t think of Meridell as a vacation spot.
Punchbag Bob: I blend in well in the hay fields.
Me: Ah, I see. So, to get back to the Battledome, when did you start battling?
Punchbag Bob: Oh, years and years ago. Seems like forever, really. I accidentally fell into a fight in the arena and was hit with an attack.
Me: How awful!
Punchbag Bob: Not really. I mean, I’ve been described as a gunny sack filled with dead grass. No attack really hurts me. It’s no secret that I don’t fight back and, given a lot of patience, almost anyone can wear down my points.
Me: That’s true. How come you don’t fight back?
Punchbag Bob: (shrugging) Not my style. I like to see Neopians try to figure things out – like how they are going to wear me down. Most get so frustrated that they give up. But there are the ones that are willing to keep going until I finally stop sitting up and cry “uncle.” Those Neopians deserve a trophy or something...
Me: Does your cousin feel the same way?
Punchbag Bob: Sid? Goodness, no, he loves to fight back. I think it’s because of his eyepatch. A Grarrl picked on him when we were younger and he’s had a short temper ever since. Sometimes I tell him to go to Terror Mountain to cool off, but of course he would never want to go there except to the dome there.
Me: Why not?
Punchbag Bob: For the same reason we don’t like Maraqua: we don’t do well getting wet.
Me: Does moisture make you weak?
Punchbag Bob: Nope. Just very, very heavy. Bit annoying to have to wait for myself to dry out before I can continue on my way...
Me: That makes sense. Well, I do want to thank you for your time, Bob.
Punchbag Bob: Oh, it was my pleasure. Anytime someone would rather talk than aim a staff at me is a good day. Though you may feel free to send something flying in Sid’s direction any time. He’s not happy unless he’s battling someone.
Me: Thank you. I will keep that in mind.
On the whole, Punchbag Bob seems a nice enough guy. He is content letting others practice on him as long as they will respect his privacy and allow him to take vacations without being bothered to return to the Battledome sooner than he wishes. Please, Neopians, if you see him wandering around, leave him be. He will return to the Battledome soon enough, and you can take him on then.