dude – n. A man; a guy
- A stylish, fastidious man.
When talking to Dudes, I always encounter the same few figures in our conversations. The following is an observation taken from experience:
1. Nikola Tesla
I have never met a Dude who is not fond of Nikola Tesla. This Serbian-American electrical engineer and inventor is the unsung hero whose plans for alternating current and free electricity were completely foiled by the man who we give all the historic credit for electricity to today—Thomas Edison. The primary folks who bang their pots and pans for Tesla are Dudes. Dudes love Tesla. This is a fact. Even the dumbest dude down the street has heard of Tesla because all the Dudes have discussed Tesla at some point in their lives. A couple of famous Dudes who love Tesla and talked about him passionately are Jack White in Coffee and Cigarettes and Duncan Trussell in an episode of Derek Waters’ Drunk History. Both takes on Tesla’s work and character are profound and hilarious. And both Jack White and Duncan Trussell are total Dudes.
2. Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Whenever I ask a Dude who claims to be a reader who his favorite author is, or what he’s read most recently, he’ll say, “Dostoyevsky.” I don’t know why they don’t give Henry Miller or Charles Bukowski as an answer, or even Knut Hamsun. It’s always, “Dostoyevsky.” I suppose Dostoyevsky’s written some great works, and I suppose he is a worthy read, but Dostoyevsky seems more favored by Dude than anyone else. I think it has something to do with his strangeness. Dostoyevsky was a strange guy—inscrutable—where as Hamsun, Miller and Bukowski seem more accessible to me even in their moments of madness. To be honest, other than Notes from Underground, I didn’t really get into any of Dostoyevsky’s works and try I did—he just isn’t my cup of tea. But the Dudes will have loads of his tea. Loads of it. Not sure what the reason is but Dudes love Dostoyevsky.
3. David Foster Wallace
Another author that Dudes love who is also dead but more of our time is David Foster Wallace. I’ve seen so many Dudes on the L Train in their knitted hats and beards reading Infinite Jest—that gigantic epic novel—held in a single hand with the thick spine supported by their long slender fingers. If they’re not into fiction, they’ve definitely read Consider the Lobster and his other essays. Dudes love this guy. This man is a hero to the Dudes. I’ve encountered Dudes who call Wallace’s works “profoundly sad” and “utterly moving.” Dudes tend not to be so open about their feelings but when it comes to Wallace’s writing, they’re all mush and guts. I have a fondness for DFW myself, but not as much as the Dudes seem to have for him.
4. David Lynch
When I am introduced to friends of friends who are Dudes and there’s just nothing else to talk about, I ask them if they like David Lynch and their eyes light up. Dudes love this guy. As a cinephile I am a big Lynch fan myself, but if he and Jarmusch were both drowning in a lake, without question, I would save Jarmusch’s life first. But the Dudes—no. Lynch is their forever hero. The man who fathered Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, etc., is every Dude’s favorite filmmaker—a visionary, a poet, an artist, a comedian, a sick mind—all of their favorite things wrapped in a single body topped with a gorgeous head of wavy silver hair. If you ever encounter a tight-lipped Dude, ask him if he likes David Lynch. He’ll instantly open up, and appreciate you for having asked him that question.
5. Jeffrey Lebowski a.k.a. The Dude
Hey, I don’t even need to get into this but I will: The O.G. of all Dudes is THE Dude of The Big Lebowski as played by the ever-lovable Jeff Bridges. Every Dude I’ve ever met can quote his lines from this film (as can I although not a Dude myself but am definitely an Achiever). When someone orders a Caucasian at the bar, the Dudes laugh. When someone says, “Nobody fucks with the Jesus,” the Dudes laugh. When someone says, “Obviously, you’re not a golfer,” the Dudes laugh. When someone suggests that we go bowling after a funeral involving a tin coffee can overlooking “the bosom of the Pacific Ocean,” the Dudes will say yes. All hail The Dude, the godfather of all Dudes forever and ever, Amen.