"I mean, I don't think I'm alone when I look at the homeless person or the bum or the psychotic or the drunk or the drug addict or the criminal and see their baby pictures in my mind's eye. You don't think they were cute like every other baby?" - Dustin Hoffman
The other day I ran into Dirt, probably the most beloved Dear Burt personality of all time, and boy did he look like shit! As always, I worry about him, but especially during the hot months. He was rummaging through trash cans in War Memorial Park, where he can usually be seen from 6-6:30 p.m., and I dropped in to give him a buck. Sure, it wasn't much, but it's what I had on me. (Besides, it gave me an opportunity to snap this glorious pic of Little Rock's most famous nomad!)
Not much is known about Dirt – excuse me, Keith. Well, after hearing a handful of stories over the years about him and how he came to be homeless, which I'm still not sure of, I'm happy to report that a part of Keith's genealogy has been discovered! In this super-exclusive Dear Burt report, the identity of Dirt's father, the man who raised Keith and molded him into the moldy man he is today, will finally be revealed ...
Believe it or not, Dirt's daddy was a famous Arkansan. Born Oct. 18, 1923, Mr. Claude Bud Campbell was "The Voice of the Arkansas Razorbacks," doing play-by-play at football games for 10 years before tragically dying in a car accident Oct. 3, 1974. (Ironic, because his successor, Paul Eels, suffered the same tragic fate.) Also like Eels, Campbell was the sports director of KATV. Before that he was a sportscaster at KARK. Campbell began his broadcast career in Chicago for WIND Radio, covering Chicago Cubs baseball and Chicago Bears football, as well as Northwestern and Indiana State basketball on television. In 2008, he was inducted into the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame, along with legendary sports columnist Jim Bailey and legendary coach Frank Broyles. He is buried at Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock.
Now, simply relying on the word of a Dear Burt reader wasn't enough. I wanted it straight from the hobo's mouth, which is very scary looking and probably hasn't seen a toothbrush in many, many years. While giving him the dollar, I asked, "Hey, is your name Keith?" He said it was. Alex was right! Then I asked, "Is your last name Campbell?" and he looked me in the eye and said, "Yes." However, suddenly he made a deranged face and said, "Uh, no ... no" and began to walk away. Immediately I knew that he was in fact Keith Campbell, and for some reason was hiding it. So, I screamed out, "Sir, is your father Bud Campbell?!" He just looked down and mumbled "No," but the truth was already out, and I had discovered his father. I was overflowing with joy. That is, until I looked up and saw that the other people in the park had been watching me interrogate and scream at a homeless person, and all for the cost of a measly greenback.
Well, gang, now you know a little more about our good friend Dirt. I'm glad, and I hope you are too. Of course, if anyone knows anything else, please feel free to share. We've only begun to scratch the scabby surface of his mysterious life. Also, there's been talk of a throwing a benefit shindig in his honor, with all of the proceeds going toward him and his cause: survival.
8 months ago