Samson the Strongman
Oil on Board
12 x 12 in
Samson left the prairie after high school. He was tired of the heat and the people, and wanted to move on. With his last pennies, he purchased a bus fare with the longest distance possible and set out for the west coast. He had a ticket and a plan to become a legendary sailor, and he was going to use his unusual strength to do it.
After a 20 hour bus ride and a long 5 mile walk, Samson caught sight of the harbor. He strolled down to the end of the dock and as he stood there mesmerized, the planks beneath his feet began to bow. The creaking and cracking, unnoticed by Samson, garnered the attention of the sailors on a nearby ship, who watched as this hulk of a being suddenly plunged into the water, taking a sizable chunk of the wood walkway with him. Five of the crewmembers were able to fish him out. As he sat there thanking the sailors, their captain approached, scoffing at Samson for the hole he had left in the dock. "My apologies, I will repair it immediately," He said. And with that Samson calmly lifted the entire damaged section out of the water and set it on his shoulder. The captain hired him on the spot.
Samson sailed with the crew of The Flower Maiden, but he was a terrible sailor. Too bulky in frame to work high in the rigging, reaction time too slow when yielding a sword, and clumsy in the hoof with tying knots, Samson struggled. The one thing he was good at -- hoisting heavy storage crates – would hardly help him attain “legendary” status.
One afternoon he fell overboard yet again as they came to port. The crew tossed a rope down as usual, but Samson, now skilled at swimming, ignored it and swam to shore, done with sailing but not sure what was next for him. He stood at the water’s edge until the boardwalk lights started to glow and a marquee behind him lit up to advertise a show: "Marvelous Oceanic Acts". The show featured the usual feats and tricks of the marginalized. Given his stature, the ring-leader noticed Samson in the audience and approached, saying, "If you are willing, I have a proposal for you." The next years secured the ring-leader with great wealth, and Samson with top billing on the Marquee, “Marvelous Oceanic Acts: Featuring Samson the Strongman, Legendary Sailor of the Open Waters”.