Bad company


Last night I was hanging out in People’s Park with a bunch of other street people.  This guy I call the Walrus was sitting on the log. I call him the Walrus because he always wears three pairs of pants hanging down by his ankles.  God only knows why.  But it makes him look like a walrus.  And every time the Walrus tried to stand up from the log, he tripped on his pants and fell down to the ground (I guess that’s why most people don’t wear three pairs of pants around their ankles).

This other street person, Crazy George — who looks like a cross between Buddy Hackett and Lou Costello — is lying on the ground under some blankets, drunk out of his mind on Four Lokos and trying to sleep.  But periodically he lifts his head up to puke all over himself.  “GODDAMIT ACE,”  he shouts.  “DO YOU HAVE ANY TUMS?  I GOT TOO MUCH ACID IN MY STOMACH!!”

This other crazy street person, Ghost Lady, is sitting on the bench across from me, talking to herself.  Like always.  This weird, witchy, occult-like rap.

Crazy George, who fancies himself as a bit of a ladies man (when he’s not puking on himself) calls out to her:  “GHOST LADY.  YOU ARE ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN I HAVE EVER SEEN IN ALL MY YEARS IN BERKELEY SINCE I FIRST GOT HERE IN 1974!!”  George is trying to proposition her.  But then he goes back to puking.

The Walrus tries to stand up from the log, yet again, and topples over to the ground, yet again.

And I’m sitting there, sipping on my beer and smoking my cigarette, amidst all this.  And a thought suddenly occurs to me.  It’s a line a remember hearing before:

“You can judge a man by the company he keeps.”

And then I thought:  “God. I sure hope not!”