Both were daredevils in their own way. Evel Knievel jumped over buses and fountains on a souped-up motorcycle. Dr. bell hooks jumped over sexists and racists with her deep thinking and souped-up prose.
And when bell hooks died this week, she went one-up on Evel in one way: she outlived him by 37 days. Evel Knievel was 69 years and 44 days old when he died in 2007; bell hooks was 69 years and 81 days old when she passed this week.
Our list of people who died at 69 years old has a bunch of folks who you maybe thought were pretty old when they died. Patty Duke! Pablo Neruda! Saddam Hussein! Richard Feynman! None of them made it to age 70, amazingly. It just goes to show what you can accomplish in under seven decades, for better or worse (koff), if you put your mind to it.
Evel Knievel and bell hooks can’t have had that much else in common. But it’s nice to think of a dreamy afterlife (however unlikely!) where Knievel is offering a welcome handshake to hooks and saying, “You got me there, but just barely.”