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Youth Is Not King
By JAMES GROB
Ottumwa Post Columnist
I watched a movie on cable the other night about Hank Williams. No, not Hank Williams, Jr. I would not watch a movie about Hank, Jr. because, although I like a couple of his songs, I believe, overall, he's kind of a pinhead.
I'm sure all the Hank Jr. fans out there who read this are about to take me to task and rip me a new one for calling their favorite singer a pinhead, so please, stifle your anger. Learn to accept the fact that we don't have to hate each other's guts just because we don't like the same kind of music. Hank, Jr. can take it -- he's doing OK and doesn't need you to stick up for him. You can have Hank, Jr., and you don't have to share him with me, and I don't think any less of you for enjoying his songs, so please don't think any less of me for not enjoying most of his songs. Fair enough?
Anyway, the movie wasn't about Hank, Jr., it was about his daddy. I never did catch the title of the film, but it was about the last two days of Hank Williams's life. It was a sad and interesting story.
I was struck by the fact that Hank Williams wasn't even 30 years old when he died. That's what was interesting to me. At 29, he had already recorded 35 singles that had reached the top ten of the country chart -- and 11 of those had reached No. 1.
That's something. By the time I was 29, my biggest accomplishment was being able to make an excellent sandwich.
So I'm pretty impressed with Hank Williams, and this is accentuated by the fact that I actually like most of those songs.
Even more interesting to me is the life of Buddy Holly. That young man was just 23 when he died, and by that time, he had already charted over 20 songs -- all of which had been written by him.
Makes me feel really old.
I am twice Holly's age, and by comparison, I've accomplished next to nothing. And, I'm guessing, you've accomplished next to nothing as well, when compared to the likes of Hank Williams and Buddy Holly.
But I'm here to tell you to take heart -- there are plenty of people who never found success until later in life.
Colonel Sanders, for instance, was 65 years old before he perfected is original recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken and became the biggest name in food this side of McDonalds.
Speaking of McDonald's, founder Ray Croc was still selling milkshakes at 52. Six years later, he had 200 restaurants.
Edmund Hoyle was nearly 70 when he first began recording the rules to several various card games -- rules we have followed for about 250 years now.
Laura Ingalls Wilder was 75 before she started cranking out the "Little House" books. And Julia Child was 50 when her book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" was published (and she was 40 before she even knew how to cook.) Elizabeth Jolley had her first novel published at 56. Author Mary Wesley was 71.
Henry Ford introduced the Model T when he was 45. He created the assembly line when he was 60.
Spider-Man creator Stan Lee was 43 before he started creating his famous comic book characters. Rodney Dangerfield didn't become a stand-up comic until he was 42.
At the age of 96, Harry Bernstein published his memoir "The Invisible Wall."
So, you see? It's never too late.
Whiz kids like Mark Zuckerberg might think they rule the world, but us old fogies still have a trick or two up our sleeves.
You hear that, Zuck? I'm coming after you!
Right after I take my medicine.
And a nap.