When Your Heroes Get Old
Posted by: Bill Ott
Just read Dan Kraus’ fine review of Jonah Winter’s “You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!” which will run in our September 1 issue. Terrific book, but I was frankly appalled by the premise. Really? Young people have never heard of Willie Mays? Given that he retired from baseball almost 40 years ago, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m still deeply saddened. Am I really that old? Pondering that melancholy fact made me think that my admittedly peculiar pantheon of personal heroes–Mays, Robert Mitchum, Bing Crosby, Thelonious Monk, and D. H. Lawrence–have no doubt all fallen off the radar screens of the majority of people from 5 to 25. Except, perhaps, for Monk, who is oddly the subject of at least two children’s picture books. Life is definitely weird (and sad).