R.I.P. Dick Assman

Forget dignitaries. Forget heads of state. Forget kings, dictators, premiers and presidents. Forget musicians, actors, dancers. Forget top athletes. Forget philanthropists and great thinkers. All are meager men and women of accidental luck compared to the one and only Dick Assman (last name pronounced “Osmond” and why would anybody think differently). The affable gas station owner and onetime David Letterman regular from Saskatchewan, Canada, has passed away at the wizened age of 82. 

Not since “A Boy Named Sue” has a person triumphed so successfully against such a dangerous level of nominal adversity. Friendly, welcoming and disarming, Mr. Dick Assman showed no sign of holding a grudge against the world over the years for the name that had been bestowed upon him, although he could have, and when he finally gained the fame he deserved, he took it all in stride. The man was a hard worker. A customer always got a fair shake from Dick, not even making a joke there. He was an honest and decent man.

Even with the best of names the world is a brutal place. It holds no quarter. So it is especially tedious when someone heaps a pile of low slang on a birth certificate. When cheap criminals complain about their bad childhood they should be given a portrait of Dick Assman. If that guy can do it, anybody can. A name like that could drive a lesser person insane. Nobody would’ve been surprised by the newspaper headline, “Savage Maniac Dick Assman Apprehended After Merciless Killing Spree.” There is only so much ridicule a person can take, and the effects can be devastating. The guy should serve as an inspirational model for anybody who gets rankled by bullies.

I have a friend who traveled to Saskatchewan for business in the late nineties, and during one trip he actually met the megastar, at the height of his fame, when “Dick-Ass-Mania” had really taken hold of the region.

“You think these hugely famous stars are going to be pompous and aloof,” said my friend. “This guy was great. He is nothing like you would’ve thought. He is real down to earth. No pretense. Friendly. Like Bob Hope if Bob Hope were truly famous. Dick puts the Assman in class, man.”

My friend even got a t-shirt. This is it…

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Some pretty big names turned out for the Canadian icon’s funeral. Dick Trickle, Seymour Butts, Amanda Huginkiss, Ivana Spankin, Ben Dover and Wendy Shithitsthefan all arrived to pay their respects.

“He was a pioneer,” said Mr. Dover. “He paved the way.”

I was planning on attending the memorial, but the Atlanta airport was still feeling the effects of the huge computer meltdown at Delta airlines. I happen to know a few Delta guys, and I suspect the massive amount of dirty videos they keep in their phones had something to do with the widespread digital failure. I’ve never seen anything like it. No shame. When a guy has five different fetish videos downloading at once while trying to schedule three different flight crews to Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis, it is only a matter of time before the whole system comes crashing down. The amount of “Ass Man” files (no relation to the great Canadian gas station owner) that crisscross over the wires all day effectively short circuited the entire database. 

“We’re going native,” one of the Delta people told me at a bar, trying to spin some public relations rot. “We’re going to show these big fancy computers that human ingenuity and problem-solving can still figure out how to coordinate an entire fleet of jumbo jets without all the fancy software.” 

The result: 2,500 airplanes sitting around the country like old tombstones.

Other than that I watched a bit of the Olympics. Ryan Lochte won the gold medal in mendacity. Usain Bolt came in dead last in the “humble” competition. The most improved player was the swimming pool that went from a murky green to a clear blue, and if the U.S. women’s 400-meter relay team ever needs a place to stay in Atlanta, I’ve got a ton of space. Actually I don’t, which is even better.

Congratulations, Rio. The world had written you off as a dangerous outpost with wild vigilantes running amok. A place where the city officials happily released diseased mosquitos the size of helicopters to infect all the pregnant women with crazy viruses. A place where grifters would steal the pants off your legs before you could make it from the hotel door to the taxi cab. You pulled it off with courage, which is grace under pressure. It is easier to condemn a house than it is to build it. It is easier to complain about misfortune than it is to correct it. It is easier to blame your situation than it is to make the best of it. I myself am learning. Next time I’m disappointed with myself I’m going to repeat the motivational phrase, “Don’t be a dick. Be a Dick Assman.”

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More Alembics to come.

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