The Man Who Always Peaked Too Soon

I borrowed the subject from a series of drawings by Tom Wolfe about a man, beginning in the late 1950’s, who adopted/embraced a series of lifestyle changes but was always several years ahead of when they actually became popular. (greaser hoodlum, druggy hipster, radical revolutionary, jesus freak) He cautioned readers to wait at least three years before adopting any of his leads if they really wanted to fit in with the current trend.

Last week during my trip to Miami, as my co-worker and I were out driving around looking for a place to eat, I noticed a very familiar image on the side of a restaurant named ‘Flanigan’s’. After thinking for a few moments I realized it was the same face used back in the 1970’s in conjunction with a series of night-clubs named “Big Daddy’s”. I wondered if it was the same? A little research on the Internet told me it was not a coincidence; ‘Big Daddy’ Joe Flanigan operated liquor stores, night-clubs and eateries that once spread over a seven state area but now seem to be just in S. Florida.

So, how does this tie together?

After moving out on my own in 1976 to attend school in Orlando I would occasionally check out the night life away from campus. What turned out to be my last solo venture out (before I settled in with the laid back t-shirt/jeans/flannel shirt/army jacket/workboot wearing, long-haired, pot smoking, TV watching, engineering student crowd) I put on my best pair of Levi cords and long sleeve polyester floral shirt, enjoyed a large steak dinner (the better to absorb the alcohol I planned on drinking) and made my way to the Big Daddy’s night club on highway 436 (in the Winter Park/Aloma area). Once inside I found only two or three other patrons. I hadn’t thought about the fact that at 7:00 PM in the late summer it was still daylight. Sitting at the bar and having consumed two Seven ‘n Sevens well before 8:00 PM I asked the bartender why more people weren’t around. I was told 9:00 PM or later(after dark) was when the crowds normally arrived. Some quick math in my head told me before the hoped for crowds would be arriving the wait equated to more alcohol than I could afford to consume and still be able to safely drive back to my apartment. Having peaked 2 – 3 hours too soon I departed. Many years later I realized the group I subsequently fell in with had pre-dated the fashionable “grunge” look by a decade or two before it really took off.


About Marcus

Who me? Introverted, neurotic, self-absorbed, increasingly cynical observer of human nature and part time social critic in hiding. Most of my life spent avoiding growing up. The naive idealistic passions of youth have evolved into the eclectic eccentricities of adulthood. Northeast Florida small-town native, related to people I can't relate to. Simultaneously my own best friend and worst enemy. Politically and spiritually unaffiliated, my personal ideologies put me all over the map or off it completely.
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One Response to The Man Who Always Peaked Too Soon

  1. dearest_b says:

    Isn’t it funny? How what is known as fashion these days, used to be regarded as a person just being a scruffy sod.
    My daughter pays 35 quid for a style of shoes that i used to pay a pound for 25 years ago and into the bargain when people saw me in them, they’d write me off as being too poor for ‘proper’ shoes.

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