Starting to get the real crazies and career panhandlers and whatnot to the booth. I love them all. Also getting the narcissistic middle-aged women who want to tell me, in detail, everything about the history of dixieland or their cat or whatever. I hate the conceit and also the fact that they’re wrong so much of the time (on the dixieland, though I assume the stuff about the cat could come into question after some empirical investigation.)
The best one so far was a guy who came up, scraggly beard and claimed to have been a professional panhandler for 20 years. He says to me “Sir, Dan is it?”
“Do you have any meat?”
“You always gotta have meat in your pocket.” (I should point out here that every time he said meat, he made an oversize baroque pantomime of jerking off. Figured you should know that.)
“No, nothin’ dirty or anything, but I got meat in my pocket!” (Jerk-off pantomime.)
So he actually takes out five individually wrapped slices of Turkey breast from the first pocket in his cargo shorts.
“See, you never think of it, but I never leave home without it. It’s my five-point plans why you gotta have deli meat in your pocket at all times.
(He’s counting the fingers on his right hand with the fingers on his left.)
“Point 1: You get hungry right? We all get hungry!
“Point 2: You like a good deli sandwich right? We all love a good deli sandwich, good roll pickles and all that shit.
“Point 3: You ain’t always gonna be near a deli. Sad fact of life, something you’re too young ta know.
“Point 4: So whaddaya do when you get a craving for deli sandwiches and they ain’t there? (He jerks off again. It breaks his catskills rhythm.)
“Point 5: You should always have some slices a deli meat in yer pocket case’in ya get hungry. See, I even got cheese!”
He pulls out 5 individually wrapped slices of American cheese from his pocket. People want actual information from the booth, but I’m entranced.
“I wanna buy yer hat kid, I made $1200 today, I’ll give ya $120 for it.”
“But wait, Craig, Craig’s your name right?”
“Where do you keep the bread?”
He looked momentarily embarrassed, shook my hand and went off to piss on a public plant.
As for real news from base camp, the cops arrested a shit ton of people yesterday. Ray Kelly should resign in disgrace-these are illegal arrests. The NYPD is going to be in court for a long time. I think the Direct Action committee wanted the arrests though, because why else would they have gone onto the Brooklyn Bridge? It got a lot of attention to the cause, so I guess it made sense. I spoke to one of the head organizers from the occupation in Israel and he related the problem they had that we avoided:
“The first week we went out, 400,000 of us, and demanded the police get a raise. The next week they got a raise. The police loved us after that. They loved us so much we couldn’t get arrested!” He gave the Larry David shrug.
The bureaucratic nonsense is working itself out as the people with bipolar disorder in camp are finally hitting the low points of their cycles. We’ve built up a good enough cache of counselors where I think we can handle it, though I did have to politely dismiss one guy working information today since he was just a rambling incoherent mess.
The food is getting better and better. Someone brought salmon with vegetables today which was absolutely delicious. It’s getting really really cold now though, so the comfort station has been running low on blankets and basic items.
I went drinking with some of my cohorts in information and we all traded shrooms stories. I think I had wildest one, but it was damn close. I’ve been able to spread my name far and wide through business cards, hopefully will get some gigs coaching underground competitive eaters from that. I realize I must sound just as crazy as the sandwich guy when “I was the prom king of Saratoga High School” is too abruptly followed with “I ate a whole peach pie in 4:45, won even though everybody had put their money on the fat guy.”
I’m trying to come up with a new biography, entirely lies, which will be more palatable to the general public. Any and all suggestions welcome.