Squirrelly Shaffer was a legend in my hometown of Summersville, WV. He didn't lead any community efforts that I know of, or make significant financial or cultural contributions to the town. In the late 70s and early 80s (and probably before) Squirrelly's iconic status was created because he was the town drunk. He was Summersville's Otis. And his legend was well deserved.
Once, after being arrested for public intoxication, Squirrelly escaped from the Nicholas County jail. I'm not sure how, or even why, frankly; Squirrelly was such a regular that I'm sure he knew he would be released soon after sleeping it off. Regardless, he escaped and a manhunt ensued. Deputies searched the immediate area, then broadened the search a bit, all the while knowing Squirrelly couldn't get far on foot. Try as they might, the police didn't find Squirrelly for several days. Turns out, Squirrelly went into hiding immediately after his escape in the one place the cops didn't think to look.
Squirrelly shimmied up a large tree on the courthouse lawn, and stayed there until the commotion caused from his escape died down. Then, he shimmied back down, and hit the local ABC store before becoming so drunk (again) that he became a nuisance, was found and arrested.
Sometimes, it seems, the best place for people to hide is in the most obvious of places.
Like the cultural mainstay that is Hollywood. Or the theater. Or within the onslaught of press clippings and interviews that come with celebrity.
We knew all about Squirrelly, when I was a kid. He didn't have a press rep who managed his affairs and who could put a polite spin on his behavior. Squirrelly wasn't overly attractive, nor the kind of hit with the ladies that allows some folks who misbehave to get a free pass. Nah, he was a poor schmuck who had little to do other than to get a little nuts when he got a whiff of the smack. But we at least knew who he was at his core, and what we were likely to encounter if we got close enough to start a relationship.
I'd take Squirrelly's authenticity over the fake personality bling of some folks any day.