26 April 2007

"Skateboard Is Gone! I Ain't Never Forget This Day!"

What do you say about a (literally) legless drunk who lived on the street, begged for a living, spent nearly all his panhandled earnings on booze, and was crushed to death beneath the wheels of a mail truck when he rolled himself out into traffic one too many times without looking?

"How tragic," perhaps? "What a waste of a life"? "Why didn't someone do something to help him"?

In a normal world, perhaps, but in San Francisco's Bizarro-land, you romanticize him as a "character" and give him a largely values-free send-off in the local newspaper, replete with testimonials from his fellow denizens of the Tenderloin. Valedictions ranged from "he was mellow" to "the biggest heart in the street" to "part of the furniture." But the ultimate - and saddest - epitaph came from the owner of his local liquor store: "Skateboard was drunk all the time."

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