Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Best Place To Hide Is The Obvious

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.


Hoyt said...

Awesome post!

Jackie Lantern said...

You didn't ask for it but here's my take on this whole thing.

He's an actor. He reads words and sentences other people write for him and gets paid to do it. This career path doesn't require alot of brain power. Most of these people don't even graduate from high school, much less have a degree of any kind. So why is everybody shocked that an actor got hammered and said some stupid and insensitive shit?

More importantly, why are these people put on some kind of intellectual pedestal because they're actors? They aren't civic leaders, or our kids teachers, or members of our congregations, they are actors.

Hell, if nothing else we should be surprised when a day goes by and one of these idiots don't behave like this.

Maybe I'm different, but I seperate the role from the person.
I like Max Rockatansky. He may be one of my favorite movie characters ever.

Just because Mel Gibson finally proved my point and showed the world he's a knucklehead doesn't mean I'm going to stop watching The Road Warrior, or Payback for that matter.

But that's just me.

The Film Geek said...

Hey Jackie: You never need an invitation here. I really appreciate and value your opinion.

My issue isn't that I put him on a pedestal as much as it is where I choose to pay my dollar. For example, years ago I stopped eating at The Craker Barrell because they openly discriminate against gays. Now, they have the right to do that under current law, and it is a free market place, and lots of other reasons exist that let this type of employment practice occur, but do I want to pay my dollar to a company that does this. Nah. I like their food, but I'll eat elsewhere. Same for Gibson, now. I think he is pretty talented, but I just can't give him my couple of bucks.

The Film Geek said...

I need spell check for comments! Or, one less beer before I type...

Jackie Lantern said...

Thanks Film Geek.

I didn't intend to come across so defensively, but I'd had this conversation about 100 times yesterday and I was pretty wound up about it.

I understand your reasoning about not wanting to support these individuals or groups financially. I have a few personal boycotts of my own in effect (ahem Bob Evans).

Suppose you already own a DVD of his? Will what happened the other day affect your viewing? Just curious.

BTW- I love me some Craker Barrell...

The Film Geek said...

I don't own any of his movies (I never saw those Mad Max movies he did, which I know you really love). And it wouldn't matter if I did, I doubt I would boycott something I already own. Just no more new cash for Mel from me.

Off Route 75 said...

Cracker Barrel openly discriminates against gays?

I didn't know that.

The Film Geek said...

Hey 75: They do, in their hiring practices. Mor than a dozen years ago they began firing folks who were employed there and were openly gay. Courts upheld their right to do so.

I understand in recent years, though, management has a more inclusive policy. This, from Lycos:

Cracker Barrel was accused in the early 1990s of dismissing some gay workers. A leak of a Cracker Barrel executive's memo saying managers should fire employees who didn't "demonstrate normal heterosexual values" sparkled protests from gay rights groups. The company eventually renounced the memo and adopted policies protecting gay employees.