But not Keith Richards. He's either already dead and walks among us like a zombie, or he is undead, a latter day Nosferatu. Or so he appears. What's interesting is that this creature has overtaken his partner Mick in popularity. After all, it was Keith not Mick who showed up as a Pirate of the Caribbean, never mind served as model for Depp's famous characterization.
So what's with that? That rascally ruin of a man, albeit still going strong, is an idol of sorts. Surely it has to do with how his core fan base, the boomers, are turning into ruins themselves, harboring memories of rascally days, and projecting their illusion that they're still crazy after all these years, to quote a milder geezer.
Another oldster idol, Leonard Cohen, seems born to his current age and demeanor -- I paid less attention to him long ago and just can't remember him young. I tell myself Cohen is the old man I want to become. Until I realize I'm old already so perhaps I should head for the monastery now so I can still have a couple of comeback years. But truth is most of us never had that much glory to come back to. Woodstock reunion? Please.
It's simpler than all that. It's aging. The passage of time, unstoppable. The beckoning open door of mortality. But, man, to be so cool toward the end! To be, as another sign of that passage and of a generation calls it, the most interesting man in the world. On her FB page my daughter has posted a photo of the Dos Equis ad character and of myself, and I'll be damned if we don't look quite alike. Except my photo, by a professional photographer using all the tricks of the trade like lighting and styling, was taken two decades ago. And the Dos Equis actor is a bit older than I. Which translates to: I could have been the most interesting (looking) man in the world, but only if I was over twenty years older then. There's no glory in looking your age.
Keith Richards looks his age. And probably that's his appeal. You can be old and decrepit and be cool. Of course, it helps to possess talent and good fortune most of us don't. But otherwise, his wrinkled old self is telling us: Revel in your decrepitude. Flaunt it, don't hide it. Live it with glory. It's only getting old and I like it.