Thursday, March 24, 2011
THE PAIN OF FADING FAME
HEROES WHO WEAR THEIR HONORS OUT. Of course this strange vehicle attracts my attention.
Towing this! Can you see the racing motorcycle also? What is street racing? And why are the Datona Police involved? I will stand outside photographing till I attract the driver's attention and draw him outside---I want the story!
Meet Big Willie Robinson--- He understands--he emerges--with part of the story in hand.
We introduce and for the next hour he walks me through his life---showing me many photos of his beloved/deceased wife Tomico. He weeps when describing her though she's been gone some years. I flashed on the song Bo Jangles where the man still grieves 20 years after his little dog died.
He's the first and only president of Street Racers International--said he was enroute to California for a meet. I sensed that his club had peaked long ago---but occasional offers still come---and some towns still provide gas money for him to come and organize an event.
I wanted to see inside---without asking!! So I listened politely --- evinced my good will---interest---harmlessness (necessary skills to us travelers who are perpetual strangers) and sure enough he invited me inside. I have something valuable to offer----my attention--that is what I will pay for the story. He's 6 foot 6 inches or so and has to stoop a bit. I expected a bad smell but was pleasantoly surprised. This gentle giant sat beside me on his couch showing me his trophies of newspaper fame. They were extensive.
Looking forward at the console--he said was modeled after that of an airliner.
looking rearward----a giant TV--model race cars. He likes the look of spoilers--so he made a large one for his rig. Did you notice it? The rig seemed well lived in---it was perhaps 30 years old. We sat down and I paid attention while he showed me picts of himself with various notables (e.g. the Mayor of LA) some movie stars--Paul Newman--etc. He seemingly needed a fame "fix". My attention provided it and in return he gave me 3 autographed cd's telling his full bio.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I came away sad and a bit exhausted. Ego on display is tiring. (I let myself be warned) Perhaps a single -themed Life such as his-- leads to a starving ego ---so that exchanges like this one amount to energy theft. Old folks I meet---having lived too narrow a life -- are often unbearably boring. Multi-dimentional--multi-faceted folks are sure to be more interesting---and more giving.