Kickass remembers Hemingway

Kickass, the doorstop dog, reports that, of course, the keeper’s lifelong Hemingway adulation is stirred by the Ken Burns PBS series now playing, and, of course, he—the keeper, recalls a long ago visit to Key West and a talk with Captain Tony, proprietor of the former Sloppy Joe’s, where Hemingway liked to drink.

The keeper came away with an autographed poster that hung on his bedroom wall for many years.  It displayed an image of Capt. Tony and was signed: “To Bill—You know this to be the truth.”  The “truth” was Capt. Tony’s political slogan: “All you need in this life is a tremendous sex drive and a great ego—Brains don’t mean a shit.” The slogan was used when Capt. Tony was elected Key West mayor.

Somewhere in the keeper’s junk there is, or was, a tape recording he picked up at a library sale on Sanibel Island of Hemingway reading some of his work.  He—the keeper played the tape a long time ago at a memorial for his good friend Jim Selk, another would-be Hemingway.

So the Burns series displays a much flawed Hemingway, but it does little to diminish the keeper’s illusion that except for a quirk of history here and there, he—the keeper would not have had to wait until he was an octogenarian to write the great American novel—“Margaret’s War,” of course, and instead would have led a glamorous life of Hollywood celebrities and literary adulation.

The Capt. Tony poster seems to have been misplaced during the keeper’s latest move, but he—the keeper remembers the message about “brains” and he intends  to continue to live by it, as he and Phyllis watch the rest of the Burns-Hemingway series.




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