Mack Mack is a character in Cannery Row that is idolized by some of the unexpected characters in the book. It is funny what makes some people idolize people. It is not always how successful, rich, or even how smart someone is. Sometimes a person idolizes someone because of the way they act, think, or things they stand for. Doc is by far the smartest person, book wise, in Cannery Row.
Even though Doc is much smarter than Mack, more successful, and has more money, Doc still looks up to Mack. Mack is not your typical person to look up to either. Mack has no job, no family, no responsibilities, and he drinks all the time. I think Doc wishes that sometimes he could be like Mack for maybe one day. Doc would like to experience that feeling of doing what you wish, when you feel like it, being able to be such a persuasive talker, and doing just enough to get by.
I think those are the things that Doc admires most about Mack, except one of them. The one thing that I think Doc admires most about Mack is how Mack can be content with how he lives. That is what I admire most about Mack. I find it hard to be content with anything. Mack is different though, he is happy with not having a job, not caring what others think of him, and not having a family.
Doc admires that quality of Mack the most because Doc himself cannot be content right now because he hates it that he does not have a wife. If you really think about it Mack is actually very smart. He has a way of convincing people that they should think the way he thinks. Doc knows that Mack is smart in this way and he calls Mack the true philosopher of Cannery Row. This is another way that Doc admires Mack. Doc has all of the book smarts but he doesn’t have the street smarts that Mack does.
This is true in real life also, if all you do is study all of your life and never experience anything, all of your learning will go to no use because you will not know how to interact with other people. Not only is Mack admired by Doc, he is also admired by his friends. He leads them through whatever they do. If it is talking Lee Chong into letting the boys use his newly acquired house, or talking the captain into letting the boys use the captains pond for catching frogs. Mack is always the one coming up with ideas and getting the other boys to follow him. Mack in his own eyes is a bum that always screws up, whether it be his marriage, Doc’s party or whatever.
In everyone else’s eyes in Cannery Row Mack is an idol that everyone would like to be like for a little while.