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Brief and Bogus Bios #001

June 9, 2014


Joe Fagooms was born on a farm, in the Oklahoma panhandle in 1902. Some of the Fagooms’ favorite activities, more out of necessity than anything else, included hiding from tornadoes and trying not to starve to death. Joe’s father, Obadiah Fagooms’ primary crop was dust. The market for dust wasn’t very good, so the aged farmer took to drinking too much Ovaltine and literally going to bed with the chickens.

Unable to afford real clothing, Obadiah and his wife Abigail dressed their children in tailored flour sacks held together by horse liniment and roofing tar. The kids’ wooden toys were actually made of hemp. Unable to afford a dog, the young boy made a pet out of the ranch’s water pump. As Joe remembered it, “That pump could shake hands to beat the band, but didn’t go for walks worth a damn.”

An untoward person, he wandered in and out of odd situations throughout his entire life. Inadvertently, he found himself brushing up against greatness many times.

He once called Ernest Hemingway a “sissy-pants-wearing-mama’s-boy” outside the “Floridita,” a popular bar in old Havana, and wound up in the hospital with a broken beer bottle lodged in his ear.

He challenged Charles Lindbergh to a foot race across the Brooklyn Bridge, then stop midway and recreate Johnny Weissmuller’s stunt of diving into the East River, just as the great Olympian swimmer had done in Tarzan’s New York Adventure. The legendary aviator rolled his eyes at the non-sequitur challenge, got into his car, and drove away.

Journeying to Hollywood, Joe appeared as an extra in The Great Dictator. He is among the men seated behind Charlie Chaplin when the silent film legend gives his impassioned speech. Fagooms was kicked off the set for eating sunflower seeds and spitting the hulls at Chaplin. Finding the sensation of being pelted with seed hulls somewhat distracting, Chaplin put his boot to Fagooms’ backside and called out, “Next time you want to bring sunflower seeds on my set, you better have enough for everyone.”

Fagooms is alleged to have replied, “See if I do, you commie bastard!”

He was one of the oldest people to attend Woodstock. The LSD he dropped was military grade. When that was combined with non-stop inhalation of Marlboro cigarettes, Hostess Snowballs and a seemingly endless supply of his father’s homemade Portuguese wine, Fagooms spent the entire concert looking in the opposite direction of the stage. Those near him said he was worried that the cow pasture might outflank the attendees and beat the hell out of everyone. “We’re all gonna get pasteurized!” He muttered incessantly.

In the spring of 1978, Joe Fagooms’ Corvair station wagon was found abandoned on the outskirts of Weed, California. A hastily written note was found tucked under a wiper blade. What turned out to be his final words read, “Female Bigfoot is beckoning to me from the woods. Or it could just be a hippie, I’m not sure. Frankly I’ve seen worse at discos. What the hell…”

  1. Loved the story. Wish I’d met Mr. Fagooms at Woodstock.

  2. Thanks Ernie. I like your style! Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox. I’ll be returning to your blog.

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