Unconditional Surrender & the Siege Perilous

Me * Heroes * Ulysses S Grant * Horatio Nelson * Huh? * Siege Perilous

Greetings, Im Andrew, known to my family as ‘Drew’ and logging into this blog as ‘Drewl’ which, of course, is pronounced as ‘drool.’ I don’t take myself too seriously, but I would like to cover some fairly serious concepts in this blog, so you may only continue to read on if you promise bear with me. We have a lot of ground to cover, so lets get started:

For me, a hero is not a perfect and untouchable ideal that is inspiring and vague, but more of a concrete reference that has a direct relevance to me. Ulysses S Grant was my first adult hero and he helped me thought a tough period of my life. He had a little help from H. Nelson later on, but for the first few years he was going it alone.

Ulysses S Grant
Grant is my hero because he was such a complete mediocrity at best and often a total failure: with one shining exception. Grant graduated in the lower quarter of his class at West Point, and did not seem fitted to be an officer in the peace time army. Leaving the army under dubious circumstances, (glug-glug) Grant tried several occupations and failed miserably. He could not even farm, and his record as a president is even worse: scandals, corruption and panics. After being president of the United States for two terms, Grant was swindled out of all of his personal assets and went bankrupt.

Horatio Nelson
I found Nelson a little later on, but its basically the same deal. Nelson is almost as bad as Grant but his failings were of a more private nature and did not have as broad an impact as Grant’s scandals. In his personal life, Nelson was extremely vain and flamboyant. He openly carried on an affair with the wife of a good friend (she was a woman of ill repute, and had even been an artist’s model at one point) and had a child with her. Although he was loved by the common English people, Nelson was often snubbed in ‘society’ because of his ridiculous behavior.

Some heroes. Well, let me explain. In school I studied history primarily, but became interested in art as well, specifically figurative sculpture. I ended up with a BFA in art and a BA in history. Great. I knocked around a bit and did temporary work, but finally went back and got some vocational training so I would know something useful. Then I got a job and settled in to being my own mediocrity. But all that history and art was still in my head. I realized that even though Grant and Nelson were fools in their day to day lives, under the correct circumstances they were extraordinary. Grant fell for every scam that came his way, (Imagine John Edwards as President: “You say these beans are magic?”) but he marched his forces down the Ohio to the Mississippi and fought the battles of Shiloh, Vicksburg and Chattanooga, paving the way for Sherman’s little jaunt. (Im not saying it’s a good thing, just impressive.) Nelson, the one armed, one eyed dandy (he liked to ware ALL of his medals) carried off such a crushing victory at Trafalgar that Napoleon gave up even pretending to invade England.

These two men keep me going through some of my darkest hours because despite all their faults, they each had a ‘place’ where they truly shined. If they can do it, so can I. I just need to find the ‘place’ that is right for me.

Siege Perilous
Im still looking for that ‘place’ and the search had taken on something of the nature of a quest. So, Iv named my new bike:  Siege Perilous