When he was 13 years old, John Fairfax ran away from home to live in the jungle, emerging periodically in town to exchange ocelot skins for knives—which he used to skin more ocelots, and so on. After having been dumped by a college girlfriend in Argentina at the age of 20, he attempted suicide—by letting a 400-pound jaguar attack him. A decade later, he drew upon navigational skills picked up as captain of a Panamanian pirate ship, braved numerous typhoons and shark attacks, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat stocked only with Spam, oatmeal and brandy. Then, after a brief stint as a mink farmer, he traversed the Pacific Ocean in identical fashion, only this time he brought along a female companion.
Yes, Mr. Fairfax’s eulogy in Saturday’s New York Times reads a whole lot like a Dos Equis commercial.