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John Fairfax Or Royal Tenenbaums: Comparing Adventurer's Obituary With Wes Anderson's Eccentric Family

The Royal Tenenbaums

First Posted: 02/20/2012 10:51 am Updated: 02/20/2012 12:49 pm

On Feb. 8, longtime adventurer John Fairfax passed away at age 74 and his New York Times obituary has bested even the most ambitious bucket lists. Filled with amazing character details -- traversing oceans via rowboats, jaguar-as-hemlock suicide attempts -- the obit compares him to the heroes of Graham Greene, Hemingway and Ian Fleming. But, for the movie-literate, one might imagine being told these tales in the velvety narration of Alec Baldwin. So, let's take that one step further: how does Fairfax's life compare to the lives of cinema's premier family of eccentrics, the Tenenbaums?

Tastelessly, see if you can tell the difference. R.I.P. John!

1. "In 1972, he and his girlfriend, Sylvia Cook, sharing a boat, became the first people to row across the Pacific, a yearlong ordeal during which their craft was thought lost."

2. "For the past year he had been traveling alone on an ocean liner called the Cote d'Ivoire and had seen both poles, five oceans, the Amazon and the Nile."

3. "On a camping trip when he was 9, he concluded a fight with another boy by filching the scoutmaster's pistol and shooting up the campsite. No one was injured, but his scouting career was over."

4. "At 13, in thrall to Tarzan, he ran away from home to live in the jungle. He survived there as a trapper with the aid of local peasants, returning to town periodically to sell the jaguar and ocelot skins he had collected."

5. "Four years later, disappeared alone for almost two weeks and came back with half a finger missing."

6. "At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate. To please his mother, who did not take kindly to his being a pirate, he briefly managed a mink farm, one of the few truly dull entries on his otherwise crackling résumé, which lately included a career as a professional gambler."

7. "Ran away from home one winter, and camped out in the African wing of the Public Archives. They shared a sleeping bag and survived on crackers and root beer."

8. "In the sixth grade, he went into business, breeding dalmatian mice, which he sold to a pet shop in Little Tokyo. He started buying real estate in his early teens and seemed to have an almost preternatural understanding of international finance."

9. "Bitten on the arm by a shark, and he and Ms. Cook became trapped in a cyclone, lashing themselves to the boat until it subsided. Unreachable by radio for a time, they were presumed lost."

10. "Died Tragically Rescuing His Family From The Remains Of A Destroyed Sinking Battleship."

Key:
1. Fairfax
2. Richie Tenenbaum
3. Fairfax
4. Fairfax
5. Margot Tenenbaum
6. Fairfax
7. Richie and Margot Tenenbaum
8. Chas Tenenbaum
9. Fairfax
10. Royal Tenenbaum

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Filed by Jessie Heyman  |