Remember banana seats and sissy bars?
In the 70s, kids all over America were building ramps and breaking bones because of this guy’s stunts. One of a kind.
I haven’t read much Vonnegut, but there is one thing he wrote that has stayed with me for a very long time. It isn’t even from the primary text of one of his books, but from the forward to Slapstick:
This is the closest I will ever come to writing an autobiography. I have called it “Slapstick” because it is grotesque, situational poetry–like the slapstick film comedies, especially those of Laurel and Hardy, of long ago.
It is about what life feels like to me.
There are all these tests of my limited agility and intelligence. They go on and on.
The fundamental joke with Laurel and Hardy, it seems to me, was that they did their best with every test.
They never failed to bargain in good faith with their destinies, and were screamingly adorable and funny on that account.
I first read that in 1986.
George Kolarac, my mother’s brother, died earlier this week. This is on the heels of the death of his brother, Sam, and his sister, Carol, which all happened in the last 6 months. Poor Mom! Her family is collapsing all around her.
I called her up this morning and she was typical Mom, tough as nails. I know I ran into George at the last wedding or picnic, but I remember him best from when I was a kid. Huge, barrel-chested man, with a massive head, like an upturned bucket resting on his shoulders. Mom told me he played high school football for Bishop McDevitt. My first thought was how could they afford McDevitt? Turns out he won a scholarship. His obit says he played in the 1953 Orange Bowl for Maryland. I suppose his athletic ability is his legacy, but I remember him best for his big laugh and gentle spirit.
So long Uncle George!