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Boomer Quest

Terry Davis In The Shop: The Book, The Movie, The Man



All great stories have an element of wrestling in them, and baby boomers love them.

Some call it conflict.

Characters wrestle with a place in the world (Catcher In The Rye.)

Characters wrestle a dog and lose (To Build A Fire, by Jack London.)

Characters wrestling on the mat (The World According To Garp.)

Characters not wrestling enough (Vision Quest.)

Characters wrestling with the devil.

All wrestlers have heard of, or seen, Vision Quest; not so many read the novel.

It’s classified as Young Adult, or YA, so it’s got the ‘safe for kids’ brand.

It’s more adult than young adult though, the same way wrestling is more primal than any ball sport.

Vision Quest is pretty raw in the day to day life of the hero whose mom left for another guy; who met a girl and invited her to live with him and his dad and seems like an old married couple during his senior year in high school; who works in a hotel with a chronically naked-man guest.

Portland baby boomers might see their city in it.

John Irving calls Vision Quest the truest book about growing up since Catcher in the Rye. You’ve read that? A kid leaves boarding school and walks around Manhattan. The end. Plus everything else.

Vision Quest didn’t need wrestling to succeed as a young adult novel. It stands up by itself. Wrestling just makes it better.

Other things are like that, too.

What’s the last thing you put on french fries? Ketchup. You can get fries that stand alone, ones dipped in garlic sauce and cooked in pepper-oil, but without the ketchup who cares?

Without wrestling, Vision Quest roams Spokane and the countryside like Sherwood Anderson beating around Winesburg, Ohio.

With wrestling, it gathers elements of Fight Club.

In the end, Terry Davis reminds us it’s all about the quest, the journey toward goals, that matters most.

I’ll take it further:  once you feel the pull of any quest, you sense it everywhere. It’s about winning, yes, but more about what it takes to win the way you want to win.

How do you want to win?

The important thing is to realize the choices. What you do with the choices after that tells who you are.

Knowing who you are and living up to it keeps you on the right quest. Others see your example and how it might help them.

That’s what anyone who cares wants for others.

Go ahead and tell someone, “You’re better than you think,” and you’ll be right.

Tell ’em you heard it at

About David Gillaspie
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