Back in the Day Cafe #4

bad mother fucker walletSometimes, when you wake up in the morning, you have a wise-ass idea, one that makes you think “What the HELL was *I* smoking?”

That, dear friends, is my life. Welcome to another tour of the mind of the Mighty King Cobra, a.k.a. The Lizard King, and this time, it might be vaguely educational, too!

As always, our premise: One of the minor plot points of the movie Pulp Fiction, is that the wallet carried by Jules Winnfield is adorned with three powerful words. Bad. Motha. Fucka. And Your Lizard King has taken it upon himself to ask:

Who Else is Qualified to Carry the Bad Mothafucka Wallet?

Without further ado, we bring you, The Lizard King’s BAD MOTHAFUCKA #97:

Bad Mothafucka #97: Ernest Hemingway

bad mother fucker walletHere’s where we detour, remaining, as always, vulgar, course, rude, and pretty fuckin’ funny, but keeping in mind: This shit actually happened!

“Papa” Hemingway is remembered for a lot things: His avid pursuit of hunting, bullfighting, pugilism and the “manly” arts; his body of work; the (possibly apocryphal) stories of his childhood; and the ongoing “revelations” regarding his sexuality.

But, as our first real-live Bad Motha Fucka, Ernie gets the nod on these strengths:

#1: The Style

After Ernest graduated from High School, his father wanted him to go to college… but Ernest had very different ideas. Hemingway wanted to join the forces or learn to write. By October 1917, he was working in newspapers, for the Kansas City Star. He was trained ‘on the job’ by studying a style manual which declared good writing meant short sentences, and positive writing.

Any of us who’ve ever read his works are familiar with “The Style.” Short, terse prose. None of that flowery bullshit. His writing, like so many other facets of his life, is straight-shooting, and to the damn point. Hemingway himself said he “distrusted adjectives,” giving his writing a simple, yet effective voice. Sort of like John Wayne, with a quill pen.

And that applied to more than just his writing. Early in 1918, Hemingway was working for the Star, when he found himself at Union Station. On the stone floor lay a man on a stretcher, bundled in blankets. The crowd had formed a circle around him at a respectful distance, for his face was broken out in ugly sores. There seemed to be no one attending him. He was moaning a little.

“What’s the trouble here?” Hemingway demanded.

“He’s got a contagious disease,” someone in the crowd piped up. “No one dares touch him. Some one sent for an ambulance.”

“Why is he left alone like this? Isn’t anyone in charge of him?”

“Two men took him off the train and brought him here. Then they went back on the train. I suppose the man’s a pauper and couldn’t afford to pay anyone to take care of him.”

“How long since they sent for an ambulance?”

“About half an hour.”

Hemingway swore, “Why, I wouldn’t treat a dog like that. What’s the matter with you people? Why didn’t some of you carry him out on the stretcher and put him in a taxi and send him to the General Hospital? The man’s got smallpox and will die if not given care immediately. I know what smallpox is because I’m a doctor’s son and recognize the symptoms. Who’ll help me get him out of here?”

At the word smallpox, the crowd retreated. No one offered to help.

Hemingway became angry. “What’s the matter with you yellow bunch anyway? Are you going to stand there and let a man die?”

When still no one made a move, he himself picked up the man in his arms and carried him out of the station. Then he ordered a taxi and took him personally to the hospital, charging the expense to The Star.

Sometimes… a man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do.

#2: Running Of The Bulls

Hemingway’s childhood gave him an insight into all aspects of life and, being such an inquisitive person, he wanted to try everything and be exceptional at everything he did. He found it very frustrating when his health or poor eye sight kept him from fulfilling his goals. He wanted to join the forces, but was unable to. His crappy eyesight meant he could only join the ambulance corps. That might be enough for some people, but not our Papa. He wanted to excel, to be thought of as the best. Exhibit A:

bad mother fucker wallet

He’s the one in white pants, irritating the angry half-ton of beef. When it came to excitement, Hemingway went FAR beyond the call… Sort of like the first extreme sportsman. (Fuck you, Tony Hawk. But can he do a half-twist Fakey Ollie Grind?)

#3: His Wives

bad mother fucker walletHemingway married four times. Four freakin’ times! Does this prove that he was hard to live with? Well, probably, yeah. But it also shows him as a man of his passions, a man who reacts with his heart (and, to be fair and frank, with his balls as well), a man who DID WHAT HE WANTED TO DO, and consequences be damned. It’s admirable, in a fearsome way. I have to admire someone with the cojones to live the way he wanted to.

That said, the same passions that drove him to each new woman, each new bullfight, each new book, each new conquest, certainly drove him to his death. In a way, it seems ironic that the same courage that impelled him to live, impelled him to kill himself. Under no circumstances will I defend, from a moral, legal, or even a psychological point of view, the act itself. That’s WAAY beyond the scope of a flippant Internet countdown.

I’ll sign off with the words of Papa himself:

“I always try to write on the principal of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it under water for every part that shows. Anything that shows, you can eliminate, and it only strengthens your iceberg. It is the part that DOESN’T show…”

(Next Time: No wound they gave was ever anything but fatal…)

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