Breslin could write about anything, and fast. He was a smart, angry Irishmen who didn’t take any guff from anyone. That’s who I wanted to be when I grew up.
A lot of our childhood heroes, it turns out, have feet of clay. Sports stars fade or go down in flames. Politicians likewise. Entertainers may lose touch with the studios, become has-beens. Writers go down to the bottle, or pills, or just lose their talent, or interest.
Not Jimmy Breslin. Never Breslin. He has done novels, but mostly he’s been a newspaperman, from that day to this.
He still is. He never disappoints. And I still want to be Jimmy Breslin when I grow up.
So I’ll keep writing, and keep working, and keep thinking, and keep on keeping on, as long as I can see the keyboard, as long as the words will come. The only difference between then and now is that now I know I’ll never measure up.
I don’t have the talent, or the audience, or the energy. All I have is the desire. But because Breslin is still there, and has been there, that’s enough. It will be enough when he’s gone, and when I’m his age. Because it’s enough for him.
On days like today, I know I chose my idol well.
By the way, there are many American soldiers fighting in the Middle East.
In case you haven’t noticed, they get killed. A lot of them get killed.
I was watching the endless television coverage of Israel and
Hezbollah/Lebanon killing women and children and then picking up the
papers to read almost exclusively of the same thing. I found no picture
on television and almost no mention in newspapers of Americans dying.
The dead babies of Lebanon and those dismembered by rockets in
Israel are considered to be glorious distractions that allow our
government to stroll the hallways that appear to have no blood on the
I made a call to the Defense Department: "How are our soldiers doing lately?"
"We’ve had a bad month," the man responded.
"Stay there and you’ll see."
There now came faxes detailing American soldiers who died in Iraq since July 1. There have been 50 who died since then.
And it goes on from there. Thanks to this medium, it goes on and on and on. He always knows what to write about. He always writes about it exquisitely. He always makes his deadlines.
He will always be my hero.