I’ve been carefully following the updates on Leslie Cochran’s injury and subsequent hospitalization. I’m very happy that the original grim predictions have moved to being cautiously optimistic. But still, word is that Leslie may never get back to the point where he’s out on the streets of Austin, where his sister says he wants to be, entertaining us, and being such a key part of the local social fabric.
I share a couple of important attitudes with my fellow curmudgeonly Austinites:
1. Austin was exactly the right size the day after I got here; and
2. Change is bad.
In keeping with the spirit of both, I’m sad that Leslie Cochran isn’t up to his old tricks these days.
Around Austin, one sees Leslie often and everywhere. His main headquarters is near the corner of 6th Street and Congress, and his modus operandi is to wear the smallest amount of clothing possible, in the most outrageous way. Every spring, the Leslie thong collection re-appears, modeled by him live and in living color on Congress Avenue. In fact, on at least two occasions I can remember, I was driving South on Congress, approaching Leslie as he faced away from me a couple of blocks down the street, and after a startled glance I would think to myself, “wow, who is that woman with the fine ass wearing nothing but a thon….oh DAMN IT LESLIE YOU DID IT TO ME AGAIN!”
One of the first pieces ever written on this blog was about Leslie, after I spotted him at the Pecan Street festival wearing a high school cheerleader outfit (on him, not me - STOP THAT). I snapped a picture and wrote a story around it. What I didn’t write is that I had to wait several minutes until I could take the picture, because of the crush of the crowd already taking pictures and getting his autograph. It’s like that all the time for Leslie. Everybody wants to say hello, get a picture, or buy him a drink (he prefers high end single malt scotch), so they can tell all their friends they met Leslie Cochran. Sandra Bullock and Lance Armstrong are out and about in Austin all the time and most people don’t bother them, but Leslie always gets mobbed. In fact, at some point I bet he’s been mobbed by Sandra Bullock or Lance Armstrong (who may well have been mobbing above his station. But I digress).
Austin always seems like it’s getting less Austiny. And now with Leslie in the hospital, followed by a lengthy rehab, it’s going to be even less Austiny around here for a while. His absence is our loss.
I hope he thinks he’s had a pretty good ride so far, all things considered. It’s not just anybody who gets to be famous merely for being the person they are. Leslie has always been easy for the Austin community to embrace.That he lives so outrageously and with such good humor certainly makes him impossible to ignore, like other homeless people usually are. We might want to stop and think about that a bit.
So Leslie please get well soon, and get back to the antics we’ve grown to fondly depend on. Meanwhile, if you’re bored in rehab and reading this, I will leave you this thought, which is one you might personally value highly:
Leslie, I don’t care what anybody says – at least from a distance…that’s one great ass.
[H/T to Whiskeydent, whose rantings inspired the headline]