Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Life Less Ordinary

Evel Knievel
One Final Leap into the Unknown
My news reader today brought coverage yesterday of Evel Kneivel's surprisingly low key funeral in his home town of Butte, Montana.

I must admit I never had a lot of interest in Kneivel's bizarre and often unsuccessful stunts, the heyday of which was when I was still a toddler, but nonetheless the coverage of his passing has brought on a bit of a nostalgia attack. Such was his aura, for all the failures along the line that although it was to be a couple of years before I had headed off to infant school, I do remember that the Kneivel jet cycle toy was still the first 'must have' toy for all the boys there.

The obituaries in any newspaper usually joins the select band of fashion, football, and court and social pages that I don't give the time of day to but I did enjoy the Telegraph's send off, a couple of weeks ago, for Kneivel. A couple of personal highlights:
"Thereafter Knievel worked briefly as an insurance salesman. He sold 271 policies in a single week, but left his employers when they did not immediately offer him a seat on the board.

Then he embarked on a successful career as a safe cracker, working mainly in Oregon. He also had spells as a bank robber, swindler and pickpocket."


"At the height of his fame in Britain, newspaper leader writers contrasted unfavourably the inability of Chancellor Denis Healey to keep interest rates up with Knievel's skill at defying gravity."


"He married his childhood sweetheart Linda Bork in 1959. She fell for his romantic nature after he kidnapped her three times."

Source: The Sunday Telegraph

OK, kidnapping et el. are not to be applauded, but in reading the whole article it's clear he was a man who understood that it wasn't the length of one's life that matters, but what one does with it and that's something I'll take over the puritanical tyranny of the government and their henchmen in the health and safety executive and the BMA any day.

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