By Hank Spankler
Today I sat down with local folk legend and modest hero Evan Steele to ask him a few questions. It was hard enough to get Evan to sit down and talk to us—he likes to think he’s just doing his job—but after some prying he agreed.
Evan is a mountain of a man, towering above my own slender frame with shoulders as broad as the Bridge Street bridge and arms as big as firetrucks. He chuckles uncomfortably when I tell him this in person.
“I’m just like any other guy,” says the man who only just last week rescued twelve babies and eight small puppies from a burning orphanage as he happened by on his morning 156-mile run. “It looked like they needed help.”
Evan shrugs his massive shoulders and finishes a cold Miller Lite, the can like a tiny thimble in a grizzly’s paw. I shuffle awkwardly and begin to question my sexual orientation. I’m 97% sure I still like women at this point, but that 3% is growing to at least a solid 6% if I measure from the bottom.
“I don’t get why you guys want to talk to me so bad,” Evan persisted as he pulled another icy brew from the cooler next to him.
“I mean… Isn’t it true you’re the real reason World War Two ended?”
He guffawed. “I hear that all the time. Listen, I’m not going to say I didn’t kill Hitler with my bare fists and make it look like a suicide, but let’s be realistic here, I wasn’t even born yet.”
“Then how do you explain this?” I asked him, showing a scribbled quote in my notebook:
Evan Steele is the greatest asset to the war for which this country could have asked. Put simply, my entire family’s legacy combined would contain only a fraction of the testosterone and grit this man exudes during his morning shit alone.
– Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“That seems like pretty clear and undeniable proof,” I explain.
He shrugs quickly and his eyes shift towards the ground, “Frankie Boy and I were pretty close, yea.” There is a quiet understanding among us… there is a deep wound inside this mountain of a man from which I’ve just unintentionally scraped the scab.
“I can tell this is a rough subject for you to talk about,” I noted, “let’s get back to talking about things here in your hometown of Chillicothe.”
“There seems to be a bit of prodding back in forth on television show between firefighters and cops… is this something that happens here in Chillicothe?”
“Sure, but it’s all in good fun. We’re all on the same team. Hell, I still give Ron Nichols a few bucks when I see him panhandling outside of the DMV.”
Even a short visit with Evan like mine will leave even the most idle-minded ponderers lost in thought for the remainder of their day—wondering if they could have done more for others, wondering if he dates alcoholic writers, pondering the very existence of life on our little rock floating through the cosmos.
Alas… as the morning’s bourbon burns a hole in my gut and a familiar numbing tingle pulses through my left arm, I’m left with the sober realization that even with a lifetime of preparation, none of us will ever possess even a modicum of the sheer heroism this god amongst men permeates with his every breath.