Folks, back in 1977, my family my family was getting ready to leave Germany after 3+ years of being stationed over there. My dad was in the army at the time, and we had lived in Nurnberg the whole time. Someday I will blog about my time over there, but suffice it to say I really didn’t like me time there.
Right before we left, my parents took us to the book store. It’s a LONG flight from Germany to NYC, and they had 4 kids… The book store was a way to help keep us occupied during the trip. I looked around for a while, and there it was. “Raise the Titanic by Clive Cussler. I grabbed it on a whim, and there has never been a book that did more to influence my reading or day dreams for the rest of my life.
In that book I met Dirk Pitt.
For a Star Trek loving, dweeby looking, nerd of a Junior High kid, Dirk was everything I could ever hope to be. The man was (and still is in the latest books) truly amazing. He can fly anything with or without wings. Pilot any boat or submarine. He owns a collection of antique cars and is an amazing driver. He is an dead shot, and seldom loses a fight, when he does, he gets even!
He is 6′ 3″ tall, has piercing green eyes, and women find him irresistable. Perfect for a preteen who just discovered that girls are girls. After reading this book I was hooked.
I went for every book that had been and would be published after that. I followed the adventures of Dirk Pitt and his side kick Al Giordino all over the world. They saved the world and the women. Solved mysteries and were as irreverent as all get out. They respected the authority that had earned their respect. Every time I would start a Pitt novel, I would dream about becoming him.
You would think as I grew up, I would outgrow this…. No way no how. Sadly, with Cussler getting older, he has taken up more of a consultant role in the new books. One was so bad, I stopped buying new ones for a while. I came back, and he’s redeemed himself a little, but the magic just isn’t the same in his new books.
I started wondering if maybe I had finally gotten too old to want to “grow up” to be Dirk. So I tried something. I had to fly to Spokane again today. I get annoyed with having to turn off the Kindle or iPad until we take off, and then turn it off until touchdown. I like to read the whole time. It makes the flight faster.
So I picked up “Iceberg”, by Cussler at a used book store. It was published back in the 70’s. Ten minutes into the flight I felt myself smile, and by the end, I was a third of the way done with the book, and the magic was back,
I may be an overweight, short, and pushing 50. I will never hit 6 foot, fight my way out of danger and save the damsel in distress. (though I did score a hot wife). However, for the hour long flight, I relived the magic. It was the Pitt of old, and I wasn’t old.
I often wonder how these books influence me as I grew up. Is Pitt the reason I climbed mountains and rafted rivers. Is he part of the reason I try to make people laugh at weddings and funerals. And is he why I think, that no matter what happens, I will figure out how to fix things.
Maybe so, maybe not, but I like to think there’s a little Dirk Pitt in this old fart!