The New York Times obituary celebrating 74-year-old John Fairfax's life reads like a crazed Hemingway diary entry. In addition to his passion for exploration and adventure, it turns out that "Lone Wolf" Fairfax also hated children, loved money, and had a penchant for whorehouses.
New York Times obit writer Margalit Fox told the Observer that the published piece was a condensed and conservative version of the original one she had written, parsed down for the "family newspaper." A piece on Fairfax- courtesy of the Ocean Rowing Society website-details his many whorehouse dalliances, but was too much for the modest Times reader.
Fox described the Rowing Society article as "very long, very juicy," and it is both of those. From smuggling to shark fights, here are ten things left out of John Fairfax's obituary:
- When Fairfax was asked what he did for a living, he would usually answer, "I'm a professional adventurer. I not only enjoy it, I try to make money off it."
- He was, he admits, a horrible kid, an only child spoiled rotten by his mother and nanny. "We had money," he says, "and I got everything I wanted. What I lacked was a father for an authority figure. It made me an opinionated little brat. To this day, I don't like children because they remind me of myself as a kid."
- "[The Boy Scouts] were on a snow camping trip," he recalls, "but the first night we stayed in a hut. After an argument I had with another boy, I went and got the pistol I knew our leader kept in his gear. I stood outside and started firing at the hut, where all the boys were sleeping. Those military bullets penetrated the wooden hut like it was made of paper."
- After Fairfax emptied the gun, the troop leader rushed out and grabbed it from him. Livid, he slapped John, who responded by kneeing him in the groin.
- He met a Chinese call girl there, and after three months she had managed to make all his money disappear.
- Fairfax, the lone reader on the crew, became their spokesman, prompting the captain to threaten his life, which prompted Fairfax to flee to Panama.
- There he met a pirate, the biggest smuggler in Panama. "I told him I'd like to try my hand at smuggling. His response was to take me to a whorehouse and put me in bed between two whores. He said if I survived the night and they approved of me, I could work for him. I was so drunk, I don't remember anything.
- I went all over the world, smuggling guns, whiskey, and cigarettes. Over the next three years I learned navigation and made my first million.
- He hid out in a whorehouse for two weeks and then skippered a boat to Jamaica, where he worked as a fisherman for a year. After returning to Panama, he was involved in a shoot-out and had to leave the country with only the clothes on his back.
- After fifteen minutes of teasing one of the most dangerous animals on earth, he was confident the shark was beginning to show signs of a nervous breakdown.