It’s funny, the odd things that jog your memory. . .
Hate Man hated to spend money on things. Just about the only thing he spent money on was tobacco. He must have spent a thousand bucks a month on tobacco. For himself and for anybody at Hate Camp who wanted a smoke (“25-cents for rollies. 50-cents for Slims. Or PUSH!”). And in his later years he got on food stamps, which he mostly used to buy his beloved Haagan Das ice cream, or half-and-half and big bags of sugar for his coffee. But just about everything else, Hate Man scrounged, dumpster-dived, or bartered.
And there were certain items he was always on the look-out for. Like rubber bands. Hate Man had zillions of little packets of stuff amidst his mounds and mounds of stuff. So he always needed rubber bands to clasp the stuff together. So for years, whenever I was walking around town, if I happened to spot a rubber band lying on the sidewalk, I’d pick it up and bring it back to Hate Man.
But now, Hate Man has been dead for four months. And yet to this day, every time I spot a rubber band on the sidewalk, I’ll momentarily stop for a split-second and think of picking it up and bringing it to Hate Man. And it’ll remind me of Hate Man. I’ll think: “Hate is dead now. He sure won’t be needing any rubber bands wherever he is now.”
But it’s funny. Out of all the possible things I could remember Hate Man for. It’s rubber bands, of all things, that constantly remind me of him. I suppose I should have mentioned it in my eulogy to Hate Man.
“Hate Man was a great man. And he used many, many rubber bands during the course of his lifetime. Rest in peace, Hate Man, you hateful old bastard!”