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walk away from trouble if you can
Kenny Rogers

So David Carradine is dead, possibly (but not definitively) the result of auto-erotic asphyxiation. At least there’s still one off-color habit in which I’ve yet to indulge. Thai police, who found Carradine in his Bangkok hotel, said that he had cords around both his neck and genitals. This doesn’t necessarily point to sexual hi-jinx, and could just be a final symbolic nod toward that which accounted for most of his problems in life. Who knows?

My memories of Carradine revolve primarily around grainy, color re-runs from my youth where he’s being called “chinaman” by a posse of unshaven, slothful shit-kickers. Then things would get blurry and revert back to an earlier, clean-headed era, with some old, glaucoma-ridden dude telling him that the path to enlightenment made no pause for violence. Inevitably, and due to circumstances largely beyond his control, he’d beat the living crap out of these guys anyway. It never really mattered what the old dude had to tell him. This theme of walking softly but ultimately using one’s big stick is present in many narrative forms. It fueled all the Buford Pusser “Walking Tall” films and provided the final kick for Kenny Roger’s epic song “Coward of the County” (which in turn inspired a made for TV film of the same name.) The lesson here seems to be that, as much as we love a well-crafted dissertation on the virtues of pacifism, it never really clears the pores like a good skull-cracking. Perhaps the same can be said of auto-erotic asphyxiation, although running this proof beyond conjecture implies paying the ultimate price and there’s never anyone to write it up after.

Rest in peace, Grasshopper.

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