Person 2 Person | Stories - Person 2 Person: Robert Kirby
Wednesday, September 25 2013, 11:48 AM MDT
Person 2 Person: Robert Kirby

He's a former cop turned newspaper columnist. Robert Kirby makes his living off of satire that's often directed towards the LDS Church.

However that's not all that's behind this man and his pen. He often writes about those close to his heart. Shauna Lake sits down with him this week, Person 2 Person.

Below is a transcript of Shauna Lakes interview with Robert Kirby:

SHAUNA LAKE: Why do you think people enjoy your sense of humor so much and what you speak about?

ROBERT KIRBY: Well I think at the heart of it, everybody's somewhat of a cynic. You know you reach a certain age and the innocence of youth is finally gone, you tend to be cynical about things, and I state things that way quite a bit. So I think it works in terms of the delivery. Sometimes the subject doesn't always resonate well with cynicism, but its what I got.

SHAUNA LAKE: Explain where that comes from inside.

ROBERT KIRBY: I was a military brat, and when we moved here I was a teenager. So I was taken right out of my junior year, and we relocated to Utah. And we lived prior to that, all over the world, and my parents were very staunch LDS, and they're from this area so I had an LDS upbringing, Utah Mormon upbringing, but I got it in faraway places. And so when this opportunity came for my father to get orders for Fort Douglass he took it thinking, Oh yeah were going back to Zion, everything will be great. And we got here, and I hated it. It took me a long time to get over that. Utah can be a huge culture shock, even for Mormons.

SHAUNA LAKE: You started as a journalist, but you certainly didn't start as a named columnist that everybody knows and recognizes at the store.

ROBERT KIRBY: There was no intention of going out to be a humorist from the very beginning, and that occurred entirely by accident when I wrote this column one day for the editorial page in the newspaper I was working for titled Five Kinds of Mormons; and I explained all the ways of how to recognize the various types of Mormons.

SHAUNA LAKE: And everybody related to it.

Yeah and I still see it. That was 20-something years ago, and I still see that column stuck to refrigerators. The editor didn't particularly care for it, but when the responses came in that people wanted more of this I realized maybe there's something to this. Maybe the stuff that used to get me into trouble can actually be parlayed into a career.

SHAUNA LAKE: I want to know the personal part, your wife, your children, your girls, your family.

Ive been married for 38 years to the same woman. I have three daughters, eight and a third grandchildren. I did not know that I would enjoy being a grandfather as much as I do. I mean I did not see that coming. You hear people talk about it. How being a grandparent is the greatest, and it is. You just teach your grandchildren that you share a common enemy, and they're your friends for life. Grandchildren are a great way to get even.

SHAUNA LAKE: You write in your column all the time about your wife and you write about different things, but you never really write about going to church with her. You write so much about the Mormon aspect of your life, but you never really write about her and going to church with her and that experience.

ROBERT KIRBY: You're trying to get me into trouble aren't you?

SHAUNA LAKE: A little bit.

ROBERT KIRBY: Well you're right. I never write about her in that context because there really isn't one. I met my wife on our missions together in South America. She was a missionary too, and we had that typical Mormon marriage where you come home from your mission and you marry the first girl who maintains eye contact with you. Well she, she left the church about 15, 20 years ago, became a mainstream Christian, goes to a local community church, and that's why I don't write about her when I go to church. I live in a split faith household now.

SHAUNA LAKE: Has that been hard for you?

ROBERT KIRBY: I think it was hard for both of us. Probably at the peak of our dissatisfaction over the situation of religion in our lives, she was diagnosed with cancer. And so while we were disagreeing a lot over religion, suddenly this huge monster that you cant negotiate with comes along, and it put things in perspective. And while its horrible, there's also a positive side to it because suddenly the differences we had over religion, or where we went to church, mattered a lot less. Because I worked from home I was her primary care person. She lived in bed for months during the chemo and the radiation and it was like, it was like watching the person you love the most in life get burned alive. And I would go in in the afternoon sometimes when she had taken her meds and she had gotten all quiet and there were times I would go in there, and she looked dead. I would touch her to see if she was cold. We got lucky in that we beat the odds and came through and shes very healthy now, but something like that changes your life, changes your outlook. You realize there are things in life that you simply cant negotiate with. You have to get through them, and you either find it in yourself to do that or you don't.

SHAUNA LAKE: Robert Kirby so great to get to know you even better Person 2 Person.

ROBERT KIRBY: Thank you very much. Thank you.

SHAUNA LAKE: I appreciate your time.

ROBERT KIRBY: Thank you.

You can follow Robert Kirby's Column in the Salt Lake Tribune Here:

Web Extra’s From Robert Kirby’s Interview:
Kirby’s Former Career in the Police Force
Robert Kirby Talks About His Favorite Columns
Kirby’s Childhood in the Military

-Written and produced by Leslie Tillotson

(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)

Person 2 Person: Robert Kirby

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