Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Doc Holliday - Part 2 - Life is a game, play it!

Doc Holliday - The name gives a feeling of work and play.   For a short 36 year longlife, it was a quite an eventful journey. 

Doc Holliday, Original
A doctor by profession, Doc tried his hand in practice.  Hitch - he was suffering from a perennial liver and lung infection - mostly by tubercolosis.  Treatment didn't fly, and he practically carried the disease to his grave.   His patients would turn away quickly, not being able to cope with his perennial cough.  

For a person full of life, Doc did not give up. He took to gambling.   He was reasonably good at it.   Still the good name 'Doc' stuck for life.  

He was born with a cleft lip and cleft brow - both on the right side, and they say, it made him only more handsome.  But he cared less for his looks - but he dressed well.  

He was a good gun-shot- probably the best in the Wild Western during that period.  A constantly edgy feeling seemed to have come into his life, as he grew up it become worse, with his disease eating him inside out.   

In each of his encounters ( as illustrated in Tombstone - the movie and the wealth of data available on Internet),  this edgy feeling seemed to have pushed him for a quick-draw-shoot or die solution to all arguments or meeting with his adversaries;   He always succeeded because of his natural ability of being the quickest draw.  

This temperamental talent became the friend of the Law Dog Wyatt Earp, who was considered a perfect foil - older, mature and polished to Doc Holliday.  As his friend-for-life, Wyatt seemed to bring the best out of Doc, and it also served him the '30 minute gun fight of OK Corral' and the historic duel with the best shot among the Cowboys- Johnny Ringo.

He personified confidence, that bordered arrogance.   When Johnny Ringo meets him in a bar - he says '"All I want of you is ten paces out in the street.".  The movie shows the encounter in a different circumstance - the dialogue below is self explanatory. 

Ringo: You must be Doc Holliday.                 
Doc : That's the rumor.                
Ringo: You retired too?                  
Doc : Not me.I'm in my prime.

A clear illustration of Doc's cockiness facing his much-reputed adversary.

Alcohol was his constant companion, and he was with one woman through his life - big nose Kate.   But this seems to have been more of a functional relationship than a relationship of the heart. 

When he sees Wyatt one last time, he says ' he loved a girl when he was young, and when she got away, he carried his memories for life - and advises Wyatt - ' My friend, there is no 'normal life', just life.  Live it. Grab the moment, and marry that actress you want to live with'.   

Finally, when he becomes too sick, he dies in his bed- after 36 years of zestful life.  

By that time, he had become one of the most enduring characters of the Wild Western Folklore - a gambler, a hot headed hunk, a gunshot-par-excellence, Earp's best friend and the hero of the 'greatest gunfight' of the Wild West.  For Doc Holliday - life was a gamble, and he played it!

-The One

Next - Doc Holliday -3 - 'Wyatt Earp is my friend, I dont have many'

Source - Tombstone, the movie, and Wickipedia on Doc Holliday.

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