I have no idea why but I often get questions from people about my bodyguard, Dave. I assume it’s because there is an immense curiosity about just what sort of man it takes to warrant the safety of an unpredictable sort like myself who, through no fault of his own, has made his share of friends and enemies throughout his many years of globetrotting, edge-of-your-seat journalism. Both those friends and those enemies, as it happens, tend to be of the extreme sorts and both frequently attempt to get close to my physical person through various tactics, including, but not limited to, breaking and entering, impersonating public officials and, on at least three occasions, driving a military style hummer through barricaded wrought iron security gates.
So, yes, Dave’s job is not an easy one. He is, however, reasonably good at it. Allow me, then, for the sake of the mysteriously curious few who persist in asking, to give you an idea of what he’s like and why I employ him.
Those of you who have met Dave know that he’s a simple sort. Not terribly bright or good looking or, for that matter, terribly adept at the arts of personal hygiene, he nonetheless carries himself with a sort of oblivious confidence that is strangely reassuring. It’s as if he has no concept of the things that could hurt him or, more likely, has such dulled sensory apparatus that his pain tolerance is off the charts and he just doesn’t care what happens to his physical being. As a result, the blank expression he tends to have on his face never varies regardless of the level of crisis we might find ourselves in, which is deceptively reassuring for me and most certainly somewhat unsettling to those who might confront us.
He’s not a overwhelmingly big or imposing figure, either, though he is excessively hairy which lends a certain amount of bulk to his appearance. It’s not that aspect of his physical demeanor that tends to ward off the curious, however. No, it’s something a bit more intangible than that, a feeling or a vibe that Dave gives off that suggests anyone getting any limbs too far into his own personal space may very well pull back a bloody stump without the slightest warning whatsoever that prosthetics might be in their immediate future.
As you might imagine, it makes Ken Socrates autograph seeking something of a dangerous gamble. Sort of like base jumping with a badger strapped to your face is something of a dangerous gamble. I remember a booksigning at a Border’s in Providence where at least fourteen people had to be attended by paramedics before the assistant manager, a ferret-like little nerd named Brendan, tried to shut the whole thing down and was thrown hammer-toss style into the Self-Help section and then beaten senseless with a hardcover copy of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now.
Understand, however, that for every violent misunderstanding where an innocent fan or passing group of middle school students gets severely injured or maimed, there is another time that sturdy, loyal Dave has flat out saved my life.
There was that time in Giza in 2001 when a group of reporters from National Geographic attempted to gain revenge on me for out-scooping them on the Paralititan stromeri discovery by feeding a monsterous amount of mescaline to the camel I was riding during a tour of the Pyramids. It’s the only time I had ever, or likely will ever, see a single man wrestle a psychotic, 1400 pound, out of control dromedary to the ground with his bare hands and pin it there until the authorities can arrive.
There was the time in Maui in 1997 when a jealous ex-paramour of a local women’s surfing champion that I was seeing gathered his posse of eight or ten local thugs and broke into the Kaanapali Beach Hotel intent on dragging me to some ritualistic seaside death. Dave was there, of course, standing outside my hotel room door, naked like some pornographic Cerberus, holding the heavily armed mob off with nothing more than a dull machete and sheer balls. I guess he’d recently shaved them.
I could go on forever, of course. That fracas at The Master’s during the Green Jacket Ceremony in ’03. Pamplona in 2005 when he fended off a half dozen rampaging bulls whilst still managing to throw my vodka sodden ass over a fence and out of harm’s way. The incident in Cincinatti last year when a fight broke out over a game of Cornhole. The list is endless but I’m certain to mention it all would only embarass the man.
You see, Dave’s a private person. He doesn’t like the limelight and I don’t blame him. He won’t mind me saying that he lives in a reasonable quiet suburb just south of Boston where he’s got himself a happy, adorable little family that he constantly boasts about, a couple of pets and modest sized library of Asian porn. He likes to cook, they tell me and I know he likes sports as much as I do as we often go to Red Sox and Bruins games together. Trust me, when there’s an ornery group of Yankees or Canadiens fans in town looking to start trouble, there’s no one you want at your side more than Dave. Even the biggest and toughest of them can be made to cry when they see one his armpits up close, believe me.
Other than that, there’s not a lot I can tell you about his personal life and even if I could remember that night he got stinking drunk during a snowstorm here at the Compound and starting sobbing to me about the deepest fears and regrets of his existence, I surely wouldn’t tell you about it. And not just because he’s got a set of keys to the place and is quiet like a cat in the night, either.
No, I have to respect Dave’s loyalty and give the guy back the same trust he gives me, I guess. Having a guy at your back you can count on is a rare thing in this world and Dave, in the end, is probably the one person on this crazy ride that I am closest to, as sad as that might sound.
So, this one’s for you buddy. My own fumbling, awkward way of saying “Thank You”. And, “Sorry”, too. For bouncing that last paycheck. I’ll make it up to ya, buddy, I promise. Enjoy.