In Louisville, we love our heroes big. Really big. Like plastered against the side of a building big.
For years, residents and travelers alike have been treated to murals of hometown celebrities slapped against the side of many prominent buildings, featuring each local legend professing their ownership of our fair city. The list of honorees is impressive - Diane Sawyer, Colonel Sanders, and a whole gaggle of old looking dudes who look like they had their pictures taken at one of those old-timey saloon places in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Not only do these portraits bring energy and excitement to the city, but they also do a super job covering up those spooky-looking gang signs that get spray painted on everything that's not under 24-hour surveillance. (Seriously, what language is that? Some sort of Hebrew/Japanese hybrid?)
But where do we go from here? Has the city exhausted all of its viable, photogenic options? According to one supposed government official, that answer is an outwardly confident, yet truly insecure sounding, "I don't think so."
Wayne Larimore claims to be Metro Louisville's Director of Big Ass Signs. According to the somewhat shady looking Larimore, the position was created in 2001 by former mayor Jerry Abramson after he spent an entire Saturday afternoon standing in the back of a Spencer's Gifts staring at a totally awesome black light poster of a wizard riding a unicorn. "Once I convinced Jerry that black lights of that size and magnitude just weren't practical, the rest was simple."
For more than 10 years, Larimore spent his days evaluating candidates for future murals, scouting possible locations, and performing constant maintenance on the world's largest copy machine. But then one day, this dream job turned into a nightmare.
Short of exciting candidates, Larimore found himself left to choose between actor Ned Beatty and a guy named Fonrose "Skippy" Arrington III, who according to local authorities was the first man to ever put a Jolly Rancher in a bottle of Zima.
"When you think of Beatty, only one thing comes to mind - and I refuse to be known for glorifying the man who ruined 'Stroker Ace'. And Arrington? If I wanted to look at a giant douche bag, I'd just hang out at 4th Street Live."
After spending nearly 45 minutes in a state of panic, followed by a brief, yet fulfilling lunch at a nearby Wendy's, followed then by three hours of online checkers and an additional two hours on Craigslist posting personal ads under the pseudonym "dongbandit", Larimore came to the realization that he needed to get some work done.
Inspired by Louisville's "Possibility City" moniker, Larimore asked himself, "What if I found the next great Louisvillian before they achieved greatness?" An exhaustive search that spanned nearly a half-day and encompassed the two blocks surrounding his office, uncovered baby extraordinaire and future Louisville superstar Pat Fisticuffs, leading Larimore to proclaim, "He might be the most amazing baby every born."
The 22-month old Fern Creek resident has been considered by those closest to him to be the most intense baby on the planet. Red-cheeked and glazed in a thick layer of sweat, Fisticuff is known for his steely glare and banshee-like howl of discontent. Rumor has it he once gnawed clear through the wooden slats in his crib. Another time, he ate an entire box of Lincoln Logs, then seven hours later pooped out a diaper full of Legos.
According to Larimore, there is no denying the aura of invincibility and sheer willpower that surrounds the new face of Louisville.
"He encompasses so many of the traits that this city values - determination, self-confidence, and a quiet, yet seething rage that could explode at any moment. This kid is going to make a difference in the world. Or he might kill everyone he comes in contact with. Either way, he's going to put Louisville on the map."
Not everyone shares Larimore's enthusiasm. Amanda Corydon, owner of Happy Slappy's Daycare where Fisticuffs is enrolled, believes glorying the baby might be the biggest mistake the city ever makes.
"That sweaty little monster once stared at me for an entire day without blinking. I now have a stain on my soul." When asked if Fisticuffs had ever actually done anything wrong or inappropriate, Corydon acknowledged that he hadn't, but stated that since he began attending, the temperature at the daycare hasn't risen above 58 degrees and all of the staff have stopped menstruating.
Larimore contends there is little reason for concern. Citing the need for Louisville to expand its scope and look beyond the conventional definition of a local hero, he feels somewhat strongly that Fisticuffs is the right individual to represent the greatness of Louisville.
"It's a giant picture of an awesome looking baby. What have we got to lose?" Larimore was then heard muttering to no one in particular, "I'm really bad at my job."
The Fisticuffs mural is scheduled to be unveiled prior to the end of the year. Although the location has not been confirmed, it was initially rumored to be mounted on the side of the Smyrna Inn, because for one, that place is awesome, and two, this baby looks like someone who will grow up to have a drinking problem. However, a recent investigation suggests multiple versions will be placed at all points in which a major highway enters Jefferson County, allowing that disturbing glare to watch over all of Louisville like the freaking unblinking Eye of Sauron.
Do you think there is a local hero who should be considered for a Louisville mural? Post it in the comments section, because that will totally impress your girlfriend and/or mom.
Photo: Patrick Fawcett