...But certainly one of a kind: Idaho's "Dugout Dick" died last week; he did so on his own terms, in the home he'd built -- mostly, excavated -- with his own hands.
Men like him (and the even fewer women) are increasingly rare and as they pass, we're losing something; we buy ready-to-eat food in a bag, take packaged trips and drive a-new-one-every-other-year leased cars to and from our nearly-identical subdivision homes or carbon-copy apartments, where we relax by sitting and passively watching TV or DVD entertainment, just like the neighbors; we get our opinions from a series of media pundits, all more-or-less interchangeable in their neat little suits and neat little tone of moral outrage; turn the sound off and you can hardly tell Matthews from Beck (while the real Beck -- Billy -- is scarcely heard in the Big Media. When his thoughts are echoed, they get 'em wrong).
Loners, real mavericks (not the trumped-up nickname for a politician with no center), genuinely independant artists, people with crazy damn' ideas, they're a treasure. They're not always the most comfortable to be around but that is at least in part because they make us look at our own I'll-have-what-he's-having lives and wonder why we run with the herd.
One more guy who followed his own path has come to the end of it. Who will take up his mantle? Who can? Sure, you can look at folks like him and claim they never made much of a difference -- just one guy, all by himself, what'd he ever manage to do in a lifetime that BigGiantCorp or My Fave Part of FedGov* can't do six times before lunch, with bells on? Hell, you're right; we're all just little pink primates and if some gray One Size Fits All (poorly) answer is good enough, if your idea of "fair" is that everyone gets fifteen seconds of insight, half a square meal every other day and fifteen minutes of fame, just like all the other good societal units, you're right; all those "loners" ever directly affected was themselves. --And they fought to keep it that way; nobody else scribbled on their souls.
Who's writin' on your soul? And why'd you let 'em? Was the new Caddy and the McMansion worth it? After a long, full life, Dugout Dick died in his own bed, in his own hand-dug cave, in his own life. It sure beats dieing a little every day.
(Related posting by Jeffro)
* What's that? Y'say you don't have a favorite part? Okay, then go read this Jim Bovard article an' get back to me. Not sayin' he's right -- but it's the first substantive critique of the movement, or at least of its rallies and ralliers, that I have read.
CHICAGO RAILROAD FAIR, 1948
4 days ago