Tuesday, February 02, 2010

He Never Traveled With A Board. He Just Carved A New One, Wherever He Was.

So Fuckin' Cool.

Duke Kahanamoku was born 120 years ago. He was still alive when I was a young man. He was famous like a rock star in his day. He is one of my favorite Americans.

He was hands down the best in the World at what he did, for a long time. He enjoyed being able to travel the World, see new sights and meet different people. These were the things his fame brought him. I don't think he was ever poverty stricken but he never had or saved any money. He could have. I guess it never interested him.

The things that impressed me about him were that he was a friend to anybody that wanted to be his friend and an enemy of no one. After his fame had passed, he never became embittered, reclusive or a drunk. He lived his life the same, doing the things he liked with his friends, from the time he was a little boy until he was an old man. He lived in a racial time but he was never a racial man and did it in a seemingly casual manner. That can't have been easy. He was one of the heroes of all the little boys in my area. Everybody wished they could live their life like Duke.

I'm not going to go into all the stuff he did. It wasn't that earthshaking. The stuff of boyhood heroes. The impressive thing was that it was all good stuff. Greed, anger, envy, lust, he didn't seem to be touched by any of them and he had ample opportunity to become intimately acquainted with all of them.

There's a lot I don't know about him. I don't know if he was religious. I don't know his sexual orientation. I don't know about his political views. I don't know if he was what a lot of people like to call "a patriotic American". He served as a military policeman in World War II, whatever that's worth. He had to be in his fifties at the time. I like to think Duke didn't care about any of that shit but I don't really know.

He must have been quite a guy to know. If I could pick any person to get to be, it probably would be him. He had a great life. He had a lot of great times and never got caught doing anything bad, as far as I know. I wish I could say that.

1 comment:

Cut and Shoot said...

Amen to your last sentence.

And Duke seems to be like many men back in the good old days.