...while exploring the streets of historic Savannah, my family stumbled upon a rare and glorious sight.
Several blocks north of famous River Street, and while carousing through various gift shops and displays featuring southern antiques, I spotted a painting hanging outside a local gallery which nearly brought me to my knees.
My eyes widened in disbelief. My jaw dropped.
My son, noticing my reaction to the canvass, squeezed up to my side, studied the painting himself for moment, and asked, "Dad, is that Jesus?"
I placed my hand upon his shoulder, smiled and said, "No son, that's The Dude."
Year after year, countless movies are sent to theatres across the country. Some turn out to be box office successes, raking in countless millions and awarded with golden Oscars at year's end. Others manage to barely hold down a slot on the local theatre's lineup before dropping off the Hollywood spectrum and vanishing to the entertainment slushpile. And still others, while failing at the box office, find themselves reborn when their DVD hits the shelves at Wal-Mart, and soon become lifted to Cult-like status for generations to come.
"Office Space," "MallRats," and pretty much anything starring Charlie Sheen are a few examples of Big-Screen flubs, which later became DVD gems, with more Google hits than Jon and Kate's nasty tirades. And then there's my favorite..."The Big Lebowski."
Starring Jeff Bridges as The Dude, a philosophical soul-searcher with little time for such tedious travesties like holding down a job, or excersize, and who suffers from the occaisional acid-trip, is attacked by a fiendish band of mentally-challenged kidnappers who mistakenly identify him as Mr. Lebowski, multi-millionaire, and narrated by Sam Elliot...naturally.
With a plot simply too ignorant to be taken seriously, along with a steady dose of The Dude's keen awareness on life in general, sprinkled in with some of the funniest scenes I've ever witnessed, The Big Lebowski is a comic gem which has grown to cult-like status from coast to coast, and can even be found as the focal point of an artist's masterpiece in one of the most famed cities in the deep south.
While other iconic figures have in the past, attempted at using the conjunction "The" before their name as a glamorous title, they've failed at pulling off the maneuver where The Dude has stood the test of time.
The Donald?...sure he's got a lifetime of riches, but the hair, the crummy attitude...not even close.
A little closer to home, I give you The King. Yeah, LeBron James is a stud, but could he ever sit down in Lebowski attire and give a three hour speech on the glory of doing absolutely nothing, over a luke-warm Pabst, and while reclining in a ratty lawn chair from 1975? I think not.
And of course, let's not forget, The Dan, who's ignorant lifestyle actually finishes dangerously close in status to The Dude's, but only time will tell if he can master the longevity with which Lebowski can brag of. Personally, I have my doubts.
The painting I discovered along the fabled streets of Savannah carried with it an asking price of $2200...AND WAS SOLD. Cult status for The Dude? Oh I think so.
Also mentionable has to be the photogenic brilliance of my wife, who sensed a moment forthcoming, and managed to capture the above shot at just the right moment, as I was attempting to explain the iconic presense of The Dude to my son. The woman's amazing when armed with a camera.
In closing, watch "The Big Lebowski," laugh at will, and rest assured...The Dude abides.