No one is quite sure how Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly, the flagpole sitter, got his nickname. The version we like is that as a former sailor he claimed to have been shipwrecked many times. or as a boxer, he was decked so often that he always seemed "adrift" in the ring.
Every generation has its stunt men, from the daredevils who roll over Niagara Falls in barrels, to Nik Wallenda's world-witnessed feat on June 15, 2012 of crossing over the Falls on a 2" wire to "fulfill a lifelong dream".
You think of guys like Shipwreck when you get glimpses of Ted Cruz, Texas' delusional gift to fun-house madness, filibustering Obamacare in an empty Senate until he can "no longer stand". After 21 hours and 19 minutes without a bathroom break, he gave up rather than suffer the alternative.
Clearly, if we dare use that word in the presence of this screwy Republican showboat, his lost-cause obsession to be a martyred savior gives us greater respect for Gen. Custer's foolish behavior.
Cruz is the spectacle du jour. Sold on his own importance, with or without his Republican colleagues' endurance, he is turning up on TV more than those tiresome GEICO commercials. In his latest stand-up role, he compared his Republican colleagues in the senate to the appeasers in Hitler's rise to power. But he shot a hole in the reliability of his promises by breaking his word that he would speak until he dropped to the floor from exhaustion.
Shipwreck Kelly set a record when he sat atop a flagpole in Atlantic City for 49 days. So if anything, Shipwreck Cruz proved nothing more than his cause has earned him Kelly's nickname, if not his staying power.