By Kevin Robbins: Guest Columnist
There is a common bond among all people in society: We all have our heroes.
We incorporate a seemingly illogical bond on those we hold dear, and our expectations are always going to be higher than what can possibly be accomplished. Perhaps we expect too much, receive too little, and/or live vicariously through the deeds of the great to fulfill our own lives. No matter what you call it, it is the beaming multitude that favor those above and beyond ourselves. And that is what has led me to write this column.
I remember growing up and desiring to emulate, if not become, John Wayne. His presence (and life itself) in all media was overwhelming, and well deserved for a variety of reasons. Primarily, he rallied a nation knee-deep in World War II by being cast in leading roles that promoted patriotism, established the “hero character” of a modern time, and defined an American society.
When I discovered that he passed away during my youth, I asked the question, “Who will fill his shoes?”
John Lennon was another hero that defined a generation. Though he was just a simple fellow from Liverpool, England, his song writing so influenced a generation that he will always be immortalized by his works.
He will forever be known as the man who universalized rock and roll. I remember the day he was killed plainly. The radio announcer stated it simply, yet succinctly: “John Lennon has been shot, and is presumed dead.”
My family was on vacation at the time, and on our way to Florida, and perhaps more importantly (to the mind of my youth), for the Shangri La for all children, Disney World. The news deeply saddened me moreso because of the timing. My initial reaction was, “Who is going to fill his shoes?”
Of course upon arriving at Disney World, those thoughts disappeared, as they would with most children.
I know the casual reader has asked, “Is this idiot coming to a conclusion eventually?” Here it is:
My diatribe about heroes and those who have gone before us links with this piece of news: Indian Larry, (a.k.a. Larry Desmedt) died last month doing what he loved to do: entertain crowds of admirers.
“Hero?” you may ask. He was to me. Long before becoming a fixture on Discovery Channel’s “Biker Buildoff,” he was a man who appreciated family, remained blissfully out of the public eye, and built great bikes.
Some people are born with fantastic skills that are both mechanical and artistic in nature. Indian Larry utilized his extraordinary skills to create two-wheelers that were not only pleasing to the eye, but also museum quality works.
The question remains: “Who will fill his shoes?”
I appeal to all people in our communities to embrace your heroes, savor what they offer in their chosen fields, and encourage others to do the same. After all, who is going to provide the needle for our proud compass when all of the heroes are gone?
Kevin Robbins is the host of the Morning Show on KSEL-FM