Monday, September 19, 2005

Maladies and Mysteries

I have been holding off on making any official judgment on the situation for a few weeks now, but I have finally come to the decision that the hot dog guy on the corner of my block in scenic Brooklyn does in fact suffer from Tourette’s syndrome, the rare and exciting disease that causes people to involuntarily yell out random (and often profane) words and phrases at the best possible moments and also when you least expect it. They sometimes twitch a bit too, which only serves to add to the excitement, at least from where I’m standing anyway.

Fortunately, the hot dog guy’s Tourette’s syndrome doesn’t seem be to having any adverse effect on his business- people love hot dogs and they’re not going to let a little random shouting from the guy selling them get in the way of their enjoyment of the popular funtime snack. His condition has, however, been affecting my ability to distinguish when the hot dog guy is having an outburst from when he is trying to talk me into buying a hot dog or when he is simply trying to say hello to me from fifty yards away.

I buy a hot dog from the inadvertedly profane hot dog guy once every couple weeks on average (I would buy them more often, but for any number of reasons- the fact that most hot dog guys appear to never take bathroom breaks being just one of them- I try not to make a habit out of it. ), so we do have a bit of a rapport. He knows I live nearby and enjoy the occasional hot dog with sauerkraut and mustard. More often than not however, the interactions between me and the hot dog guy tend to be on the slightly awkward side. “Fuck you!,” he’ll yell at me from across the street. “Good! How are you?,” I’ll yell back. “Hello, my friend!,” he’ll say with a smile. “Sauerkraut and mustard,” I’ll reply. “How would you like it?,” he’ll ask. “Fuck you!,” I’ll respond. It pretty much goes something like that every day. Still, I love him for it. The hot dogs are pretty good too.

In other news, last week I saw a guy in a wheelchair walking a three-legged dog down West 23rd Street in Manhattan. It was kind of beautiful and sad at the same time. I couldn’t help but admire their “can-do” attitude. I also wondered if they had clever nicknames for each other. And for one teeny-tiny moment, I felt lucky to be a guy walking down the street with two healthy, if chicken-like legs. Then I went back to embracing a dark world view.

In still other news, yesterday I spotted a discarded (and completely full) catheter bag sitting on a ledge outside of a building on the corner of Clinton and Atlantic Streets in Brooklyn. For the uninitiated, what I am talking about is a large plastic bag of piss, about half a gallon to be exact. It was almost amber in color, suggesting the person it came from could stand to drink more fluids throughout the day. Then again, I guess when your piss empties into a bag, you probably avoid having that happen any more than absolutely necessary. Not drinking a lot of fluids is probably the way to go when it comes to that sort of thing.

Sitting on top of the big bag of urine was a Brooklyn sightseeing guide booklet. I’m guessing someone had had enough of both sightseeing in Brooklyn and carrying around a large bag of piss with them everywhere and decided to liberate themselves of both objects. A rash and slightly selfish decision perhaps, but I’m guessing when you have to pee into a bag all the time, you’re entitled to have a short fuse every once in a while. Maybe this is where the phrase “pissed off” comes from (Sorry- I couldn’t resist.) Still, I can’t help but think that the catheterized outer-borough sightseer could learn a thing or two from the guy in the wheelchair and his three-legged dog or even the hot dog guy with Tourette’s syndrome. Maybe we ALL could learn something from them, even if that something is just that you should always try to make the most of things in life and- whenever possible- don’t leave a big bag of piss out in the open like that. People might jump to conclusions.

This morning, I walked by the ledge where I spotted the big bag of piss and the sightseeing guidebook sitting yesterday and they were both gone. Now I’ve got all sorts of questions. Could someone be standing in front of a Brooklyn point of interest with a large bag of warm piss at their side at this very moment?

Here’s to never really finding out for sure.

Dave Hill


Anonymous pete cerberus-big fan of dave hill said...

The wheelchair guy and his dog probably haul away the hotdog man's urine for him. That's why he never seems to take bathroom breaks.
It's the circle of life, Dave. The circle of life.

9:52 PM  

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