Total eclipse of the brain

 

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I remember this one lunar eclipse. It must have been around 1999. This long-time Berkeley street person — this old stoner dude — a good old boy from North Carolina basically — was tripping on LSD at the time on the Berkeley campus. Staring at the lunar eclipse. And saturating himself with the energy of the lunar eclipse. He suddenly had an epiphany. Some kind of (seemingly) powerful and profound spiritual revelation. A bona fide (so-called) mystical experience. He realized, in fact, that he was Jesus Christ.

The next day, eager to share this revelation to a breathless world, he put on a robe and donned sandals, and hit the Avenue and proclaimed to one and all the good news. That Jesus Christ (him) had returned to Earth. And he had a crucial message of love and salvation to share with all of mankind.

Google Earth street view of 2400 Telegraph Avenue Berkeley

After several fruitless weeks of babbling his message of redemption on various street corners to an indifferent mankind, he began to get increasingly frustrated. “The fools!! They are so blind that they can’t see that Jesus Christ Himself (me) has returned to Earth to save the world!!” He got in the habit of rushing into various coffee shops and restaurants and shouting to the multitudes: “JESUS LOVES YOU, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES!!”

He got more and more righteously belligerent. Getting in people’s faces and demanding they acknowledge that he was Christ returned to Earth. Several people responded to his message of redemption by stomping him into the dirt. A good old fashion beating. And eventually the police responded to his street corner ravings by having him locked up in the local nut house.

After several months of this madness he finally came back down to earth. Realized he probably wasn’t Jesus Christ returned to earth. Was probably just a good old boy stoner who had taken too much LSD during a lunar eclipse and got carried away.

So he took off his robe and sandals
And put on some normal regular clothes. And went back to being just another street person on the Ave.

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Wingnuts of Berkeley

 

Back in the day, Sproul Plaza on the Berkeley campus used to be a magnet for wingnuts.

There was a guy in the 1970s who actually plucked his eyeballs out back then.  He was a tarot card reader on Telegraph Ave.  And he was on this weird messianic trip.  He had it all planned out.  After he plucked his eyes out he was going to rush to Sproul Plaza (where all the soapbox orators and guru-wannabes hung out at the time) and deliver his great message that would save mankind and everyone would realize he was the messiah returned to earth.

It had something to do with that Biblical passage “If thine eyes offend thee pluck them out.”  Which he took rather literally.  And god knows what else was stewing in his brain.  He said the world was so ugly he couldn’t bare to look at it anymore.  But he believed that if he immediately rushed to Sproul Plaza with his gouged-out eyes and started preaching his revolutionary message to the masses, humanity would find salvation once and for all.

What he didn’t count on was the long stint in the hospital and the psyche ward after plucking his eyeballs.

After awhile he quietly returned to being a sidewalk tarot card reader on Telegraph.  Using a special deck of braille tarot cards.

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