How Did Your Idols Turn Out?

Did you have a hero or an idol growing up? I had a few, and I’ve collected a few new ones along the way. One thing I’ve noticed, is that heroes are harder to find as you get older. Probably because it’s harder to be impressed and easier to cut through the bullshit.

So I decided to do a follow up with some of my early influences and see how they look in hindsight and the eye of scrutiny.

How did they do? Let’s see:

bill gates mug shotBill Gates: Love the man, hate the operating system. When I was in high school, I remember reading about Microsoft and Bill Gates and how the personal computer was set to change the world. I credit Bill Gates and people like him for sparking my interest in an industry that enabled me to have a hobby that’s also my career, even though I would eventually turn my back on Microsoft entirely for more Linux-like horizons. He’s set the bar high, but new billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg are following in his footsteps in innovation and generosity. Kudos. 8/10

stephen kingStephen King: I’ve always had an interest in reading, but Stephen King was the first author who I truly became a fan of. When I look back to a period when I actually had the time to read for hours on end, I think of King. I don’t read him as much as I used to, but whenever I do, it’s like catching up with an old friend. King is a vocal advocate for education and the promotion of reading, and that’s a good thing. I still respect him as an author and human being, even when he reveals in the first  paragraph that everyone is going to die. 9/10

jimmy pageJimmy Page: Jimmy Page taught me that a guitar player could be messy and still sound great. I’ve looked up to many guitar players over the years, but Jimmy was always the coolest. I was obsessed with finding every album that Page played on, whether with Led Zeppelin, solo, or as a session musician. Jimmy still plays guitar and now uses his wealth for good. In 1998 he made a large donation to The Abandoned Street Kids of Brazil Fund (TASK) which helped them buy a house (Casa Jimmy) to provide safety and care for 500 children. He continues to lend his name to the cause. Way to go Jimmy! 10/10

eric claptonEric Clapton: Clapton was also pretty cool and I’d often sit around trying to learn his classic riffs, too. He had some great songs and a shadowy past full of debauchery, which I guess appealed to me in some ways, and not so much in other ways (like the doing heroin part). So I had Page for the messy Les Paul riffs, and Clapton for that smooooth Stratocaster sound. But over the years, the appeal of his body of work began to wane. Then he came out with that acoustic version of Layla which, by the billionth time hearing it, was really starting to get on my nerves. Then I found out that he once made some very racist statements, and I just couldn’t get past that whether they were taken out of context or not. He also appears to be friends with Bernie Ecclestone, who’s another class act. Way to ruin it for me, Clapton. 3/10

white square question markElise Desautels: Mme Desautels was my grade 4 French teacher and she never raised her voice at us. Until one day, when us kids just wouldn’t shut up, she slammed the door as hard as she could. That got our attention, and we all snapped up straight in our chairs and watched as the clock over the door broke free and landed square on her head. The girls all ran to her aid, and the boys, well…we simultaneously opened our desks and put our heads inside to laugh. Still, Mme Desautels picked herself up and taught the class and even made jokes about the incident. I don’t know what became of her, but I always admired her for not giving up, even when half the class was laughing. 10/10 for unintentionally introducing me to slapstick.

How about you? Do you still respect your heroes?

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  • So my dyslexia kicked in when I read the title to the post
    I read “How Did Your Idiots Turn Out” my answer to that was… as expected.
    I don’t think I really had any Idols growing up, I don’t remember any, anway. Love Jimmy Page, and Jimmi Hendrix too.  

  • Sadly, a lot of my idols are dead.  Elvis was my first.  I also loved Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix, JFK, and Mick Jagger.  (Yeah, he’s alive!  I know.)  

  • My hero was Millie the Model of comic book fame.  I wrote about that on my blog last week.  Clearly, I was shallow as a youth.   I don’t know what became of her, but I’d like to think that she and her nemesis, Chili, eventually realized that their constant bickering was just a cover-up for their true feelings and they now have a sweet little B & B together somewhere in Canada where the law has allowed them to marry.   

  • donnyosmondforever

    My username says it all…
    What’s not to like about a man who loved the colour purple and was a little bit rock n roll ?  Current bonus ?  He’s a Dancing with the Stars champ !  Enough said !

  • I have always loved Jimmy Page and I always will.

    My heroes these days are Chelsea Handler & Tina Fey. Two brilliant and hilarious women.

  • Oh and Truman Capote. 

  • I had the Donny and Marie Barbies

  • You wouldn’t know by looking at him.

  • You, Miss Madge, crack me up!

  • 🙂

  • That wasn’t dyslexia but a Freudian slip. I do that all the time 😉 I was always a Hendrix fan too.

  • Tina Fey always kills me no matter what. She’s definitely on my funniest people list.

  • We always used to say that about Charlie Watts because he always seemed so much older than the rest of the stones.

  •  I was going to write about my dead heroes, but then the question of “how they turned out” would have been moot.

  • I didn’t realize that Millie was a Marvel character. Superheroes and supermodels makes sense to me.

  • Anonymous

    I’d go with Frank Mahovlich, JFK, Friendly Giant (hey, I was a kid) and I totally agree with you about Stephen King.

  • She rules.

  • I was more of a Marie fan myself, but I guess that’s to be expected 😉

  • I loved the Friendly Giant. I can also do a pretty good Rusty with a few beers in me.

  • Mikewj

    Well, as you know by now, my #1 personal hero is Bob Dylan, whose music and depth of lyrics are unmatched. But I also fawn over Stevie Ray Vaughan and Mark Knopfler, the world’s greatest living guitar players. Yes, I know Vaughan died in 1990. But he’s better dead than most people are alive.
    I’ll tell you something funny, though. As I sit here thinking about my heroes, I suddenly can’t think of anybody else I admire enough to call a hero. Surely there must be somebody…

  • Mikewj

    I just picked up Hendrix’s Christmas album. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I’ll bet it’s interesting.

  • I don’t think I really had any idols, per se.  I admire Stephen King and loved his earlier novels – of course I once made the mistake of reading one of his books right before I went to bed.  And there was Robert Plant, mostly because we kinda shared the same type of hair – unruly – except mine was frizzier.  But he sure could belt out a song.

    For actually knowing one of my ‘idols’, I’d say it was my English (and Drama) teacher in high school.  He was the nerdiest looking guy – complete with high-riding polyester pants, short sleeved shirts, horned rimmed glasses (sans the tape on the bridge) and a Roman nose, but one of the best and coolest teachers I ever had.

  • Yep, heroes are not easy to find, especially as we get older. I remember having many more heroes and idols as a kid, but many of those faded as they were revealed to be 1 dimensional.

  • The great teachers are really the unsung heroes. Rockstars and actors are out of reach for most, but teachers can have the 1 on 1 impact. I had some great ones, and lot of really bad ones.

  • Nicky, I have something for you over at my blog.  http://artofbeingconflicted

    Pick it up whenever you can and do with it whatever you would like. I included you because I really have enjoyed reading your blog.

  • Thank you so much Cheryl! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and your blog, so this is very appreciated. 🙂

  • My sister had them too. I’m pretty sure I ran them over on my race car set.

  • Never look too closely at a hero.  The pimples start showing.

  • I’m too young to know how my idols will turn out. Can I get back to you in 20 years?

  • No probo. I can wait.

  • Best advice I’ve heard all week, God. Year even. Ignorance is bliss.

  • Anonymous

    I just realized for the first time in my life that I don’t really know what one dimensional means. Three dimensional is real life, two dimensional is flat, which is what one dimensional’s supposed to be. So what’s is it?

  • Man, I’ve have had a hard time coming up with any childhood heroes. But it got me thinking about my heroes as a former radio announcer. I got to work with retired ball player and the amazing broadcaster Ken Singleton. Great voice, great call, and a gentleman. And Robert “Tootall” Wagenaar a Montreal radio legend. Not the golden voice but the true spirit of radio.

  • I think 1 dimensional is just a point or something that can only look in one direction. A one trick pony, maybe?

    Ok I don’t really know what it means either.

  • Yep. Heroes and idols can come into your life at any time and some inspire more than others.

  • Jepeto

    James Bond was my hero. Roger Moore James Bond. He was so cool. Then i got older and i realize that he is one crappy actor. Who’s the best Bond ever? The topic can make a month long debate. I must admit that the latest actor is good, whatever his name is. 🙂
    Oh and i liked Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl, tennis players. I fucking hated Connors and McEnroe…whiny little bitches. Oh yeah and Mats Wilander was cool too. Nowadays tennis sucks. Nowadays i suck, and so does everybody. Except my son. Nah not even 🙂

  • George Lazenby was the best.

    I hated Becker. But Lendl was cool. Especially those Charlie Brown shirts he used to wear. The best was Bjorn Borg. And Carling Basset.

  • That’s what my fortune cookie said! Except it finished with “in bed”.

  • I had a soft spot for Roger Moore as Bond cause he was probably the first Bond that I saw. And he fought that Jaws guy too, which was cool.

  • Jepeto

    Hahaha! Lendl, the man with no emotions. Boom boom Becker was awesome, man! I loved his unique motion when he served and then BOOM! an ace. 

  • I always wanted to be like the dad on Brady Bunch.  Thought he was the coolest, dad: cool job, nice demeanor, sharpy-dugan clothes, cool house….

    GLAD that it didn’t work out for me!!! 

  • Totally. All those kids to deal with! Hey, what was his job anyway? 

  • He was an architect.  No idea how I remember that… but..

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