Thursday, June 24, 2010


There might, just might be a hero who was born on this day, and that person may, or may not make an appearance later today, but for now we go to the sub bench to find our hero of the day. I had a chat with a buddy of mine about this hero of the day idea, and he figured I should have planned it out all in advance, and picked them before hand. He is probably right, but I like the challenge of picking one a day. However, I am sure his approach would probably result in no one being left out. I am quite sure there is a whole raft of people that I will forget by the time this is over, and I am trying to do better about my planning, but time marches on, and we need a hero for today regardless of my desire to plan.

Our stand in hero for today is one Marcus Didius Falco, "born" March 20th or 21st, 41 AD in Rome. I say born, but really Falco is a fictional character created by a lovely English author named Lindsay Davis. He is the main character in (so far) the 20 novels of the series that bears his name. Falco is a pleb, at least when the series starts, and he is from the "other side of the tracks" when it comes to Rome. A lovely place called the Aventine, a place where they don't care for strangers much, and a good place to get your fool self killed. He is a private investigator, and a bit of a gad about. He served his time in the legion, and then moved back to Rome to pursue fame and fortune. An extremely intelligent colleague of mine read the first few books, and commented that "that isn't 1st century Rome being described, but 18th century London." There are clearly "modern" parts of the novels, but they are highly entertaining, and not meant to be weighty literature like "Crime and Punishment." It is a little heavier than fluff, but not by much. And they are quite funny, and another friend of my past read the books, and said that "Falco reminds me a bit of you, quite a bit." I took it as a compliment even if it wasn't one. Falco as a single man is quite entertaining, but in the first novel, he meets the woman that will eventually become his wife. She is the daughter of a senator, and far above his station. Their romance, and Falco's settling down to domestic life with dogs, kids, and servants are a large part of the books, and it is the part that, in many ways, I don't care for. I figure a private investigator needs to be a single man without all of the family issues that make life so bland for the rest of us. Ms. Davis clearly disagrees, but I still read her books faithfully, they are fantastic books, and Falco is a wonderfully drawn character. Cynical, a bit gruff, a fellow who does not take himself, or anyone else too seriously, and an amateur poet. He is generally going to do the right thing, and tries to do it as simply as possible. So, for being a wonderful character, Marcus Didius Falco, (March 20th or 21st, 41 AD-present), you are my (303rd) hero of the day.

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