Friday, September 3, 2010

Famous dead guys

Laurent Fignon died the other day. It made me think of a funny song.

No disrespect to Fignon. I have great respect for him. I liked him a lot. He was a professional bicycle racer through the 1980s, when I was doing a lot of very amateur racing myself. He wore glasses, unusual for a bike racer back then, and so did I. I guess he could alternate between charmer and immature head case at times, and there I am again. He died at 50 this week. I am very much alive at 48.

Fignon won Milan-San Remo twice. Winning it once would alone make a career. He won la Fleche-Wallonne, one of my favorite races. He won a lot of races. He won the Tour de France twice, but he was best known for losing it by 8 seconds to Greg LeMond in 1989. That hardly seems fair. Kind of like dying at 50. But he sure did a lot in those 50 years.

The song is by the exquisite comedian Heywood Banks. It's called "Dead Guys," and in it he ponders how he's older than a lot of famous, well, dead guys. And how he's accomplished less but had more time to accomplish it in. I think Heywood is a little older than I am, and he's certainly accomplished more than I did just now in doing that song funny justice.

So now I have two years to win two Tours de France. Or somehow become famous for not winning one (lack of win, check. Fame as a result, still missing). And then check out if I want to be in Heywood's song. I love Heywood, but I think he's got enough material.

Epilog of sorts: I actually have been in some of Heywood's material, and he's been encased in mine. I've illustrated a few CD covers for Bob and Tom Show collections, and Heywood's a Bob and Tom staple. And years ago, I asked him if I could buy a signed CD from him as a birthday gift for my niece, who is a huge fan of his. He instead invited my whole extended family to one of his shows, after which he gave her the CD in person. But during which he went on a 2-minute riff (in stand-up comedy terms, that's forever) of hernia jokes, shooting knowing looks the whole time at my dad and me, who between the two of us had, in a quirk of family timing, had three of them repaired in the past month. Heywood may not be more famous than every dead guy, but he's classier than most live ones.


Lars Larson said...

"I love TOAST!" R.I.P., Laurent.

teamfubar said...

Bummed about Fignon, but Heywood rocks..."all around the world, from coast to coast..."

Steve Magas said...

Heywood is a comic genius...his Big Butter Jesus about the big statue down here that recently burned up is a classic...