Jack Spicer writes affectionately about “ the Kid”. Maybe his hero, definitely not a role model by any moral standards, but just the same he meant something to a good number of people. Billy was almost of Robin Hood status, although I doubt any money taken from anywhere by his hand had ever ended up in the house of the poor. Rather the kid became an icon of the rebel in every man and the heart of every child. Spicer writes about the kid as I myself might write of a beloved fallen ancestor or fellow soldier. Could it be that being that being so endeared to a man who is a myth might allow one to become part of that myth, to share in its mystery. I myself have been told that I am a relative of the man who was Johnny Appleseed. I have never looked at apples the same. Of course Johnny appleseed and Billy the Kid are not quite comparable, the fact the I can get some type of connection out of hearing I am related to someone whom is only known as a legend, gives me a better understanding of how someone might write so colorfully about such a man as Billy the kid.
“Billy The Kid
I love you
I back anything you say
And there was the desert
And the mouth of the river
Billy the Kid
(In spite of your death notices)
There is honey in the groin
I have read historical account regarding Billy and much of what I understood about who he was a far cry from how Spicer portrays his character. Most often I hand seen The Kid portrayed as an egomaniacal vagabond with rather reckless intentions. I have never taken these visions to much heart. People have created the kid to be the hero or the hoodlum that suits their own purposes. It is not completely obvious as to what Spicers intentions and purposes are. It seems that Spicer has gotten something out of the Life and death of an urban myth. He writes in a way that one might perceive Billy the Kid as his brother. A certain pride that is detected in Spicers writing is the pride he has in what Billy was, or it could be the pride that he gets from knowing of Billy and feeling a part of the myth. Everyone can benefit from having a hero, someone to identify with and for whatever reason care about. Jack Spicer gives us his creation of Billy, the Billy that he can relate to. We all have a Billy that we can relate to. Even beyond the tales of his courageous tangles with the law. The kid was said to have once shot a sheriff with a ri...
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...en over a hundred pieces of work pertaining to Billy the Kid I couldn’t name one of the authors from the top of my head. But every one of them has had their hand in painting the collage of characters that I see as Billy the Kid.
Was Billy a hero? Does immortal societal status justify calling a man a hero? Maybe Billy was a hero, If we happen to need a hero this week. Maybe next time around I can call him a crook just because I can. Some one else will definitely have their own mantle piece image of this man that would support my claim. Jack Spicer was best of friends with a man he probably never knew, possibly he had a chance encounter with as a child, but he definitely found a connection to The Kid. I have my connection to Johnny Appleseed and someone else somewhere else is even now becoming a myth, needing a myth and getting what they want from its image. I can choose my own canvas, but it seems that after I am gone someone else will choose what colors to lay there. If we chip away at Billy’s portrait layer by layer a myth will become a man and in the end when all the oil based bullshit is shed a way we would most definitely be left with the truth, the original image, “ A Kid”.