Jacob Isom—the rattail-coiffed hero who swiped a Koran from right-wing fanatics and ran—has a dream. "I want to be in High Times," he told me by telephone. Then he showed me a t-shirt screenprinted with his face.
After swiping Christian demagogue David Grisham's kerosene-soaked Koran from a public park in Amarillo, Texas, Jacob gave an interview to a local news crew. Footlong rattail flying in the wind, he announced, "I was like, 'Dude, you have no Koran!"
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The video went viral. Someone started a Facebook page. A Tumblr account materialized. Is this guy an aviator-wearing fauxhemian bound for an indie rock band in Brooklyn? the troubled public asked. Or is he the thing that indie rock bands in Brooklyn imitate?
Growing up in Dumas, Texas—"It's spelled like 'dumbass,' but without the 'b' and one 's,'" he says—Jacob left for the big city of Amarillo "as soon as I was old enough." He's now 23 and works at a pizzeria. "If people want to make fun of me for that," he says, "they should know I enjoy cooking pizza more than they enjoy their office jobs." He once made a YouTube cooking show.
Jacob also enjoys skateboarding, fly fishing, and antagonizing Repent Amarillo, David Grisham's xenophobic church group. "They rant and rave with a bullhorn, and pass judgment," Jacob says. "That's not what Jesus would do. Whatever happened to that saying, anyway? What Would Jesus Do? Maybe we should bring that back."
Another thing Jacob Isom wants to bring back: rattails. He used to have dreadlocks but cut them off "because they were starting to stink." He had trouble reaching the one in back, so he left it. "I thought about cutting it off the other day, because I was going fishing and it's hot. Now I'm really glad I didn't." It helped him become famous.
He especially appreciates Jon Stewart's contribution to his fame. "He made me a stoner icon," Jacob says.
[There was a video here]
But as exciting as that was, he has an even bigger dream: "I want to be in High Times. Can you put that in your article? I tried to call them, but you have to use the internet, and I don't know if they'll call back. That's why I was so excited when you called. I thought it might be them, calling back."
Jacob may be famous on the internet, but he says he barely uses the web. "I don't have an iPhone. I don't even have a computer. I don't know who's running this fan page on Facebook about me. I don't even have a Facebook." He created his first email account yesterday, at the behest of friends who are starting a t-shirt company. They don't have an online store, yet, but they launched a Tumblr account yesterday featuring shirts screenprinted with Jacob Isom's face.
It's not the only way Jacob plans to capitalize on his fame: "I'm hoping maybe I can get two rich people to battle for my skateboard on eBay, and I could make enough money to buy a truck and sell pizza by the slice from a truck."