With all of the news stories being published in recent days about social media data and privacy, I cannot help but be reminded of a not-so-great, yet brilliantly prophetic, film of the 1990’s. Let me first set the table. I was twenty-four years old and had just moved to Los Angeles to become a stand-up comedian. Months earlier, when I was a busboy at a Jersey Shore bar, I was constantly barraged by drunks shouting “Fire Marshall Bill!” This was due to my uncanny resemblance to Jim Carrey, referencing his recurring character in the critically-acclaimed sketch comedy show of the time “In Living Color“. My resemblance to him was not the only connection. Ever since I saw Carrey impersonate the entire cast of “My Three Sons” on Johnny Carson in 1983, I was hooked. I wanted to be him. Continue reading
In 1999 I embarked on creating what I wanted to be the ultimate list of songs to play in my car. So I rooted through my music collection and pulled, opened, read, contemplated, played, meditated, listened and came up with ‘the list’. I then ripped the songs and burned them to a compact disc. Since then, I have owned three vehicles: a black Nissan Pathfinder, a black Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited and (currently) a silver Toyota Prius. Whether one of its songs were cranked up loud on a drive home from the office, or playing in the background while driving cross-country with my wife, or if it was sitting patiently tucked away while I was exploring a newly-purchased album; this same silvery, scratched, sharpie-scribbled disc has been with me on every journey.
On a Saturday morning in 2005, shortly after the death of my father, I was driving down the 10 Freeway in Los Angeles when a man in a red Jeep Wrangler ran me off the road and kept driving. I lost control of my steering and rolled about six times down a hill, with my car landing upside down on another freeway. Unable to see oncoming traffic from my vantage point, I hung there uncertain of my future. So I unclasped my seatbelt, fell on the roof and exited the vehicle without a scratch. Days later I got another car and the disc came with me. I kept driving and tomorrow kept coming.
Today, I decided to share this intimate list of songs with you, along with links to play them. I hope they comfort, energize, daze and inspire you wherever you are going. In the last twelve years, I have experienced great success, huge failure, extreme happiness and terrible tragedy. I still don’t know where I’m going and I wouldn’t change a thing. I leave you with one piece of advice: “If you keep driving tomorrow will keep coming.”
I was twelve years old when my father, Robert L. Holmes Sr., asked me to go along with him to purchase an MTV t-shirt at the Columbus Farmers Market in Columbus, NJ. That day I learned what a chain of custody was. The second an investigator touches an item (as fledgling as I was) the item was in custody. Once that second begins so does the chain, sayeth the Old Man. Once I first touched it I then must pass on, and communicate, that responsibility to the next individual who may touch the item. Ever since that day in 1982 I realized that, once I touch something that was a part of a case, it was my responsibility until someone I deemed responsible took possession and released me of Custody.
I was no Bobby Fisher but my Dad taught me, and I understood, chess at the age of four. I played with him regularly and got the game. He even let me win once. One of the things I most remember from playing with the Old Man was that, after making a move, I could take all the time I wanted. I could even change my mind and move back. But once I removed my finger from the game piece, my move was over and my decision forever made.
I have many philosophies; political, spiritual, professional and others. Some of those ideals have been modified and influenced throughout the years. Little did Bob know his philosophies would cross game play and flea markets and be the basis for my every move in business. The one thing that will never change in my world is the fact that evidence must be preserved at all cost.
I recently found myself in extraordinary circumstances where I was forced to make some very quick decisions in a short period of time. I was in the American Mid-west conducting a seizure out of town when opposing counsel made numerous threats that led my client and myself to believe we may be in danger. At bare minimum, our evidence was for sure. The decisions I made that night could possibly have impacted my Client’s life’s work. Forget me and my safety. Evidence is everything. I know many of you would say that I am crazy to put a client, or their evidence, before myself. That’s because you don’t get it.
One of the staples of modern American culture is the private eye. Whether you reflect upon your real-life heroes like Rob Holmes or the fictional writings of greats like Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, Robert B. Parker or Robert Crais, one thing is consistent: the case comes first. This is not just television and movies. Real private eyes are a unique breed just like our fictional counterparts. Sometimes art imitates life and sometimes life imitates art. But, once retained by a client, a private eye puts the case before himself. We don’t have certifications and diplomas that doctors and lawyers have to influence the public’s perception of our image. We have but one thing: our integrity. That, sir, is everything.