Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mongo, He Dead

Alex Karras, 1935 - 2012

 Alex Karras and Clevon Little, Blazing Saddles

Jostling among the ever-present crowd of patrons over at Sadly, No!, I noticed another comment downstream (Mongo dead. Host a cup of baked beans in his memory) and thought, Well What In The Wide, Wide World Of Sports Is This?

No joke. I actually used the Slim Pickens line -- presciently, as it turned out: Alex Karras, the progenitor of my persona, had died in Los Angeles; sadly, the New York Times reported Karras suffered from "kidney disease, heart disease and stomach cancer, his family said in a statement announcing his death, as well as dementia."

I've never been a big fan of football, and as a kid never knew or cared about Karras' minor gambling issues with the NFL and it's head, Pete Rozell, in the early 1960's.  I dimly remember seeing Karras, playing himself as a member of the Detroit Lion's team, in the movie Paper Lion -- but it was his Blazing Saddles character which left an impression both on me, and the crew I hung around with in my career as an undergraduate Dog
The name 'Mongo' (aber natürlich) comes from the mid-seventies film, Blazing Saddles, and was won by me after a night of drunken, smoky collegiate revelry that resulted in, uh, "an incident".  I was known to a small cadre of fellow-travelers as Mongo, A Dog, ever since.
 Said Incident involved one of two actual "blackouts" I've had in my life, and the now infamous Dog-versus-Vending Machine encounter, which found me waking up in the afternoon of the next day, my closet inexplicably filled with scores of various candy bars.

To stand looking at that much candy, and not have a clue where it came from was a moment of mind-bending, alternate-reality Wujo experience on a level with trying to comprehend even those few, barely intelligible paragraphs among the scribblings of Jonah Goldberg.

 I owe much to Mr. Karras; Now he knows what we do not. In part, he helped make me the Dog I am today, and I will always be grateful.  Go gently, and well.

_____________________________________________________________________