Very few have walked this earth and left an impression as meaningful and timeless, as Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961). His prose, simple and concise, yet rugged and compelling, defined a generation and inspired many more to come. His antics as inspiring as his literature, Hemingway embodied what it was to be an American decades before people started dropping the ‘A’, and screaming “‘Merica!” to feel some semblance of patriotism. For instance, during World War II, Hemingway and a couple of friends patrolled the Gulf of Mexico for German U-Boats (submarines), in a fishing boat. The vigilante war party planned to catch the Germans surfacing and send them to the bottom of the sea, in a blaze of red, white, and blue. Obviously, they never saw a thing, but it makes for one heck of a story.
In The Old Man and the Sea, arguably Hemingway’s best novel, the main character refers to his idol, Joe DiMaggio, several times. He reveres DiMaggio, who is a symbol of vigilance and fortitude, in the novel. There’s nothing quite like a legend paying his dues to a fellow legend.
Among other things, Hemingway drank scotch, smoked cigars, fished, stationed himself on the frontline of the Spanish Civil War and wrote a novel about it (For Whom the Bell Tolls), survived two plane crashes, and won both, the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize.
It’s an absolute shame that his life ended by his own hand, but while he was alive, Ernest Hemingway was the perfect depiction of what it is to live.