The Sound Of A Hero Faltering

31 08 2012
Photo of Clint Eastwood and Don Hight from the...

Photo of Clint Eastwood and Don Hight from the television program Rawhide. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clint Eastwood has been my hero since the time of Rawhide, back in the old black and white days, long before “Make my Day”  became  synonymous with the toughest kind of cool.  I’ve loved every laconic phrase he’s ever spoken, every sardonic little jibe, every sexy stroll down every  dirty wind-blown   noonday street in every spaghetti western he ever made.  He was the dusty ‘aw shucks’  cowpoke who’s sharp acerbic wit, delivered with a low growl and a  slightly crooked grin, was  as lethal as any bullwhip, the menace foreshadowed only in the slow  tightening of the squint of his eyes or the quick turn of the head to  expel  the cigar  perpetually clenched between his teeth.

The man behind the cowboy  was a man of huge intelligence, full of benign self depreciation who seemed to just go on, as great as always, forever. I admired him immensely.

So when the  Republican Convention’s big back stage lit up last night  with a famous image of the Gunslinger I smiled in anticipation.

Roland on the cover of the comic The Dark Towe...

Roland on the cover of the comic The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the still lean, still tan  hero ambled out on stage to the roar of a cheering, mostly surprised crowd  I thought, well – how great is this? The Gunslinger  seemed genuinely pleased by the  crowd’s affection.  After smoothing down his thinning white hair he began strongly enough.  But when he got to the place in his performance where he was  supposed to carry on a one-sided conversation with an invisible  president sitting in an empty folding chair the parody fell apart.

As any comedian will tell you and what the planners of this portion of his appearance, being politicians and not entertainers, did most obviously not know; delivery and timing are every thing in a successful comedic skit.

Time and circumstance  have slowed both this laconic  man’s delivery and his timing. Perhaps  his misplaced trust in the evening’s planners led him into a performance he would not have attempted other wise. Perhaps his ego did.  At any rate the result was calamitous. It appeared to me that he knew right away the skit was in trouble but he soldiered on. After all what else was Dirty Harry to do?

The sound of your hero faltering is a terribly painful thing to hear.

I  turned off the TV,  got up and walked out of the  room.

 

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2 responses

7 09 2012
sjlewis39

I miss those ‘early’ days of many things – but life changes and we go on – right?

7 09 2012
danajoward

Nicely said!! I was talking about ‘Rowdy Yates’ with my cousin’s wife. We miss those early days when he was young and good looking. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

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