In all the tributes written to those who died in 2016, one well-known Bostonian’s disappearance was overlooked by the area’s obituary writers.
One Dec. 29, Kimberly Strubell’s existence came to an end (that’s her face in the drumset). Adored by thousands of New Englanders, Strubell was a well-known manager at Build-a-Bear, the fiancé of mayoral candidate Larry Nabisco and mother to Kent (who is 14 and is also a man), and guardian to the now deceased Mr. Spaghetti, a very bad dog that is probably burning in hell.
She was killed, perhaps unsurprisingly, by Facebook. Kimberly is not a real person (neither is Larry nor Kent nor Mr. Spaghetti), but the creations of Boston comedian Dicky Stock. Kimberly’s persona was created seven years ago to mock and pay tribute to the Boston Southie persona — blunt, racial, oversexed and quick to be highly inappropriate.
In case you’re wondering, “hutc or ti” stands for “hit up the cellie or text it,” just one of hundreds of inside jokes that are now gone.
“I’m not exactly sure,” why Strubell’s profile was deleted, Stock told Amplify. “I think probably enough people reported her as a fake profile that Facebook looked at it.”
Anyone who followed Kimberly’s account saw a steady stream of posts about sex in all its form — butt jobs, mouth jobs, tug jobs and lots of colorful descriptions of body fluid. As she attracted more followers, Stock created more characters to populate her world — the most recent was Gordon Logan, a Coast Guard dropout who worked at Guitar Center and hadn’t been laid in decades. His M.O. was complaining about how much his teeth hurt and asking the public for advice.
Thousands of people followed Strubell’s profile page on Facebook, but on Dec. 29, Facebook officials deleted the account. No reason was given, although the blame probably belongs to her often racial posts about her love for “ethnic teens,” her strange sexual poetry and her propensity for downright gross/inappropriate posts over the years.
Should the account have been deleted? As Facebook and other social media outlets attempt to purge “fake news” from their platforms, there’s a bigger question about how to deal with fake accounts. After all, while Strubell’s fake account was relatively harmless (but pretty offensive), what’s to stop others from creating fake accounts to bully people? Where do Facebook and other online services draw the line?
Stock admits he has used the Nabisco and Strubell accounts to start trouble. Last year the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority held a contest hoping to get the public to suggest and vote on a name for its new K9. Using the Strubell persona, Stock launched a campaign to have the dog named Mr. Spagetti after Strubell’s make-believe dog. When the MBTA instead opted to name the dog Hunter, Stock struck back with a flyer campaign that quickly went viral.
The dog bit was just one more component of a giant inside joke with dozens of weird references — Strubell and Nabisco have an open relationship and anyone who rejects Strubell’s kinky advances is a “sex coward.” Her son Kent is addicted to Mountain Dew and pizza rolls, Nabisco was in the Coast Guard and loves the band Cradle of Filth. He swears he didn’t kill his ex-wife (he was watching La Femme Nikita when she was brutalized in 1993) and has made his slogan for Boston Mayor “I will not let the murder of my ex-wife define me as a person.”
That’s Stock in the picture above — he estimates he’s sold about 200 shirts and “had some requests from Canada and Norway and multiple in Australia. It’s hard to gauge how big it is sometimes. There’s people in Boston who don’t know about it, but I got recognized by people in New Orleans and in Atlanta this year. It’s a weird thing.”
The buzz around Strubell even prompted a tribute song by Matt Pryor — known for his bands like The Get Up Kids and The New Amsterdams — who dropped an inside-joke heavy ballad to Strubell and Mr. Spaghetti.
According to Stock, Facebook began to crack down on the account in December.
“I got several notifications,” he told Amplify. “First it said she was blocked for seven days. Then the next screen told me to manually delete all vulgar and inappropriate pictures, then the next screen said she had to prove she was a real person and that I had to upload two forms of ID.”
As someone who followed Strubell, Nabisco and Mr. Spaghetti for the last six months, I will say that the whole joke got kind of tired. But thousands of people, especially around Boston, love the character and have created tribute pages to the fake characters, post photos of the t-shirts from around the world and religiously reply to every post on Strubell’s account. Stock said he is working on getting Kim back online and says there’s a 50-50 chance the character will return to Facebook.
While her followers were outraged by the deletion and flooded Facebook with complaints and accusations of being “sex cowards,” others offered their condolences to Strubell’s fake fiancé Nabisco and shared stories of similar hardships.
“In the Army they gave me a job as a 69F(masseuse). I must have rubbed every neck and shoulder in the damn place,” wrote Freddy Sparkles on Nabisco’s page. “I got medically retired for a bad case of CTSD(Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Disorder). It would keep me up at night crying. I just couldn’t shake the memories of all those necks and shoulders. One night, my wife came out to find me sitting on my massage table with a half empty bottle of Mike’s hard lemonade and my .45, crying. She asked what’s wrong? I looked into her dead eyes and said, ‘I know those boys are still out there, with sore shoulders… and I can’t do anything about it.’ The next day I woke up and she and the kids were gone. You have a good woman Larry, and a son Kent, who is 14, and also a man. Don’t let them slip away like I did.”