My friend Eric posted a story that involved the sudden appearances in Pennsylvania of a naked fellow wearing a mask and identifying himself as â€œZorro.â€
triggered the amazing and largely inexplicable series of neuronal firings across millions of synapses reminded me of a brief encounter I had many years ago in the Greenwich Village Section of New York City.
I believe I was a college student (I told you it was many years ago) when I went with a buddy to one of the then-hip saloons in the Village. After drinking enough beer to require the â€œbreaking of the seal,â€ I entered a one-urinal, one-stall menâ€™s room. In such places, etiquette requires, and expediency suggests, that, if someone is using the urinal, the next person should use the stall.
Given that the stall was empty, I was surprised to hear another person enter the menâ€™s room and take up a position directly behind me. I maintained the appropriate menâ€™s room, urinal-using “forward stare,” but I was thinking, Doesnâ€™t this
asshole person know the rules? A foreigner perhaps?â€
The person waited until I was just about zipped up when he tapped me on the back. (This is very, very, very bad form in a menâ€™s room.) I turned around and hoped that it was not going to be necessary to go to â€œGeneral Quarters.” Before me stood a tallish man, dressed like an Indian warrior, war paint and all. He wore one of those headbands over his long black hair (like Tonto). He was bare chested and wore only a loincloth (I assume he wore something underneath it, but I did not look) and moccasins. The best part is that he was holding a farookinâ€™ tomahawk in his right hand!
Good thing for my pants that I had just finished pissing.
In a very calm and non-threatening voice he said, â€œCould you spare a dollar so I could buy myself a drink?â€ (One could actually buy some kind of drink for a buck in NYC back then.)
I wish I could report that I responded with a snappy comeback, or that I disarmed the renegade following a blazing display of deadly foot karate, but, remember, he was holding a tomahawk in his farookinâ€™ hand. Instead, I simply said, â€œSure,â€ and ponied up a buck.
He responded, â€œMy liver thanks you,” and he walked out of the men’s room.
I got to thinking, “Hell, I gave the guy a buck and he didnâ€™t even call me ‘Kemosabe’.â€