May 22, 2020

"Uncle Bunky... spoke in a gravelly patois of wisecracks, mangled metaphors, and inspired profanity that reflected the Arizona dive bars, Colorado ski slopes, and various dodgy establishments..."

"... where he spent his days and nights. He was a living, breathing 'hang loose' sign, a swaggering hybrid of Zoni desert rat, SoCal hobo, and Telluride ski bum. A prolific purveyor of Bunky-isms such as 'Save it, clown!' (or 'Zeebo' if he was in a mood).... Just days after his beloved cat Kitters passed away, he too succumbed to 'The Great Grawdoo,' leaving behind a vapor trail of memories and a piece of sage advice lingering in his loved ones' ears: 'Do what Bunky say. Not what Bunky do.'... His impish smile and irreverent sense of humor were enough to quell whatever sensibilities he offended. He didn't mean any harm; that was just Bunky being Bunky. When the end drew near, he left us with a final Bunkyism: 'I'm ready for the dirt nap, but you can't leave the party if you can't find the door.' He found the door, but the party will never be the same without him. In lieu of flowers, please pay someone's open bar tab, smoke a bowl, and fearlessly carve out some fresh lines through the trees on the gnarliest side of the mountain."

From a memorial to Randall Jacobs (which is getting shared quite a bit in social media). We're told he died at "age 65, having lived a life that would have sent a lesser man to his grave decades earlier." That's younger than I am, so it's startling to see hold old a person can look at 65:



I suppose we age at different rates, and we have different ideas about how fast to live. He did what he wanted, at least in the eyes — in the words — of whoever it was who wrote that memorial, which, I presume, could have been written a thousand different ways, but was written with a lively, loving heart.

41 comments:

Heartless Aztec said...

Slide into that grave all tore up so people will know you lived a large life.

Tina Trent said...

I'm guessing he wasn't jogging three miles at dawn.

Freder Frederson said...

If you spend a lot of time skiing and don't slather yourself in sunscreen, your face is going to look like that, even if you live the life of a monk.

Rob said...

Is that what’s bothering you, Bunky?

Kai Akker said...

We often romanticize self-destructive personalities. I was chagrined to read the individual appreciations, at least the first half-dozen. How wonderful, how great, etc., etc. But the clue was in the key Bunky saying as quoted in the obit: "Do what Bunky say, not what Bunky do."

To those not so self-destructive, the wildness of that living can seem appealing. We want to bust loose from our chains, even when those chains are made from love and responsibilities gladly accepted. So many see what they want to see in this free spirit. But it could be that Bunky was somewhat less a free spirit, and more a prisoner of his personality than the appreciative obituary lets on.

tcrosse said...

Give this guy a chin cleft and he's Kirk Douglas at 100. To be fair, the lighting is such as to emphasize his wrinkles.

tcrosse said...

We speak a gravelly patois on our gravely gravelly patios.

Lurker21 said...

I have no idea what this is about, but it does remind me of the stories of old prospectors you used to hear. In those days, they really were old prospectors who stayed up in the hills or out in the desert and became eccentric characters. Now anybody who's been a hermit long enough can become the subject of similar stories.

Ozymandias said...

Arizona dry you out pooty good.

ConradBibby said...

He looks a lot like Lincoln in that photo. (Lincoln also looked incredibly old for a guy who died in his mid-50s.

Roger Sweeny said...

The higher the frequency of an electromagnetic wave (e.g., light), the greater the energy. Once you get beyond visible light, into the ultraviolet, there is enough energy to knock electrons around and mess up "the chemicals of life'> That's why UV kills coronavirus. When I was a high school physics teacher, I would tell my students that the most effective anti-aging treatment for their skin was staying out of the sun or wearing sunscreen. (If I trusted the class, I would suggest they compare visible skin with skin "where the sun don't shine".)

It's looking like this guy spent a lot of time having unprotected sex with UV.

Howard said...

Just think Ann, that's what your face will eventually look like if you moved to the dry Colorado mountain sun.

Nichevo said...

Why was this worthy of your attention and of posting on? Is this person special? Or are you just feeling old?

Phidippus said...

"... it's startling to see hold old a person can look at 65."

A lot has to do with how much UV exposure you have gotten over a lifetime. If you spend a lot of time skiing under cobalt-blue skies at 5000+ feet, your skin DNA gets fried really fast, even if you are one who tans.

My daughter, for instance, is 26 years younger than my wife but has drastically older-looking skin than her mother, simply because she spends so much time at the beach.

Smoking also exacerbates the problem.



Howard said...

Having grown up in southern California every time as a kid you did something radically stupid and some sort of physical stunts adults would call you Bunky. As in "watch out Bunky, you keep acting like that and you'll never see 16"

Howard said...

Tcrosse really needs to change his Avatar to Bunky. He looks like one of those well aged deeply marinated British actors from the 1940s.

DimWhit said...

Exposure to sun + other elements goes a long way.
A life well lived....

DimWhit said...

Exposure to sun + other elements goes a long way.
A life well-lived....

Wince said...

A prolific purveyor of Bunky-isms such as "Save it, clown!"

At only 65, he's almost of the age where he could have been the young live audience member who apocryphally told Bozo the Clown "Ram it, clown" on live TV in the 1960s.

Meanwhile, it was the 1950s when the "Old Philosopher", Eddie Lawrence (1919-2014), came out with his catchphrase...

"Is That What's Bothering You, Bunkie?"

Lurker21 said...

He looks like a familiar old character actor - one of those people whose face you remember but whose name you never did learn.

DavidUW said...

That's some high mileage

Virgil Hilts said...

We go up to Pagosa Springs a lot; Colorado has on average the healthiest people in the United States but you see a lot of people 40-70 years old with great slim bodies and faces like this. Sounds like he was a great guy.

chuck said...

If you spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun your face will age like that, it is normal.

Wince said...

"Gnarly, dude!"

Bill Peschel said...

In terms of sage wisdom, none of that is a patch on "wherever you go, there you are," which at least is true.

So, too, is "Do what Bunky says, not what he does."

While I wouldn't want to live his life, it's nice to see that somebody does. Hope that was by choice and not alcoholism.

Michael said...

These tiresome losers can be found in every ski town. They hang with kids for the free dope.

tcrosse said...

Tcrosse really needs to change his Avatar to Bunky. He looks like one of those well aged deeply marinated British actors from the 1940s.

Here's the real article.

Bilwick said...

Michael, "tiresome" is of course in the eye of the beholder (it's hard for me to imagine anyone more tiresome than the cookie-cutter, dress-alike, think-alike Yuppies in this neighborhood); but what made Uncle Bunky a "loser"? It sounds like he led the life he wanted to lead, so all other things being equal, that would make him a success in my book.

cacimbo said...

WIsh they had included a photo of young Uncle Bunky for comparison.

Geoff Matthews said...

Sounds like the kind of guy who could only prosper because society was wealthy.

PM said...

I'd've guessed Aussie station grazier before ski bum.

KellyM said...

That's a face full of character. Wonder what sorts of things he saw in his lifetime. Glad he was able to live his life as he chose.

I suspect if you were to travel back in time to the mid 19th Century West, these sorts of faces would be standard. Life was hard, and having to be out in the elements to scratch a living was even harder. If you ever come across images of people in photographs from that era, they all looked like they'd been run hard and put away wet. Bunky was just in the wrong century.

rcocean said...

That's the face of a man who's spent 40 years outdoors with the sun in his face. Not a good lifestyle if you want an unwrinkled face at 60.

rcocean said...

Born in 1955, died 2020. He had fun, and lived to an old age.

Tomcc said...

Interesting; he really was a ski-bum. Bonus: he died doing what he loved!

Michael said...

BTW That face is20% Colorado sunshine and 80% Arizona dive bars.

tcrosse said...

I remember somebody talking about cocktail parties in Sydney, where the women all looked 10 years older than their husbands. That's because the men spent the day at the office and the ladies spent the day at the beach.

Howard said...

Never heard of Robert Newton. According to Wikipedia, He was a role model for Oliver Reed and Keith Moon.

Kai Akker said...

@Bilwick

"what made Uncle Bunky a "loser"? It sounds like he led the life he wanted to lead, so all other things being equal, that would make him a success in my book." --Bilwick

If he led the life he wanted, why did he advise his nephews to do what he said, not what he did? Read that obituary again and you'll notice there is very little that sounds either good, successful, or most important, happy in its account. From this nephew's own report, written for an obituary, what you hear most clearly are: dive bars, jail, drinking, offending people, and one and only one mention of an emotional attachment, to his cat.

Oh, they'll miss him at the party. There's that. "Save it, clown!" -- the words of a happy man.

Rockport Conservative said...

We live in a community with many retirees. I notice about 10 years ago that some people who looked far older than I were actually quite a bit younger. I am looking more my age now but am still told very often I don't look a day over 75. I'm 83. I'll take what I can get. My husband and I still feel very sorry for the other elderly we see who are in wheelchairs, bent over or terribly unhealthy looking. We know many aren't our age, truth is we have outlived the current life expectancy especially for those born in the Great Depression. Of course those are averages and we are individuals.
I don't think either one of us looks as used up as that poor fellow.

Daniel Jackson said...

The photo looks like the photographer moved the CLARITY slider in Lightroom to the max.