In the (rather good) progressive rock album "Thick as a Brick" by the British band Jethro Tull in 1978, there are some lines:
So! Where the hell was Biggles When you needed him last Saturday?
And where were all the sportsmen Who always pulled you though?
They're all resting down in Cornwall Writing up their memoirs
For a paper-back edition Of the Boy Scout Manual
I have a vague memory that there is a Latin saying, equivalent to this in some sense, perhaps involving Horatio Cocles, but I can find no trace of this online. Can anyone help please? I have tried hard to find this, but cannot. If no-one has a direct hit, is there an online compendium of Latin epigrams which might contain this?
I think the point of the Tull quote is that a person (particularly a boy) can't rely on fictional or historical characters, sportsmen or other celebrities: but must make his own decisions in this world. Since "there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes and various earlier equivalent sayings) it's not surprising if there was an earlier equivalent of this observation.