September 26, 2003
168 MPH, part 2

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Mr. Plimpton, like a genius, you used every one of your years in full. Not that I ever really knew you, but of everything else, I admired this most of all. Six months ago, when we were stuffing you into the French can-can outfit -- custom tailored to your frame -- I asked you if you thought that would be the strangest thing you'd do that day. You shrugged, and responded that you had no idea what each day was going to bring.

Later in the day when the shoot was on pause, you sat in those petticoats, stripped to the waist, and with only sincerity played Edith Piaf songs on piano. I didn't cry then, but it would be easy to now. In that moment, it was impossible to know just how to feel, and this is still true.

In the next several months, there will be a million stories told about you, and all of them will be true. Big mitts. Big gloves. You didn't win, but you win anyway and always.

Posted by kevin slavin at September 26, 2003 11:17 PM
Comments

I saw Mr. P. only once, through the window of a restaurant in Tribeca, the one across from Odeon that was also maybe part of Odeon. His head was high above the crowd, there was a drink in his hand, he looked a little lit, he was at the center of it all.

Posted by: dbrown on September 26, 2003 11:28 PM

and also I must note that when I read Sidd Finch, in late March 1985, I believed every word of it.

Posted by: dbrown on September 26, 2003 11:30 PM

Plimpton ringside in Zaire provided me with the most articulate, poetic and clarifying description of a fight that I've ever heard.

Posted by: Vladimir on September 27, 2003 09:22 AM

i lived a couple blocks from our honored nyc fireworks commisioner a few years back, and would run into him from time to time, but i'll always remember the first time i saw him: at the ATM on 72nd, in madrass shorts and a pink polo, his glasses dangling from his mouth, looking a little confused. then again it was the middle of january and only 25 degrees out.

Posted by: elia on September 29, 2003 09:25 AM
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