Well this story goes back to my bartending days at Sandyâ€™s. I am a people person. I am not sure if it was my interaction with many different characters downtown. Or the fact that my dad is a magician and juggler, who was always there to make others smile. I learned early on that uncomfortable situations can be managed by being a little goofy and ineractivly smoothed out with a little effort and humor. My dad would constantly embarras me as a child. He was always on stage and ready to make others smile. Being able to feel comfortable around strangers by creating a happy environment is almost second nature to me. I embarass Theresa almost daily.
Having the courage and good will to interact with others goes really well in a bar environment. I was always known as the guy who would talk to any non winner that came into the bar. Sure I learned my lesson often and ended up barring some of them. Yet I was impressed by a few.
Smooshy face was a guy that had one of those names like John or Jason that you never rember. He will always be smooshy face to me. He was one of those professional downtown drinkers that just wanted the interaction between a barkeep and himself. Although he was a drunk, he knew when to say when, and would get a sixer to go. We never had a problem with him. I interacted with him whenever he came in.
Why was he called smooshy face, well his face was smooshy. It came from a hard life that was always going down hill. He was married and I think had kids. He got jumped one night and survived multiple blows to his face with a baseball bat. It literally caved in his face. They did what they could to fix him up, and having no insurance for plastic work was left with what he had. You could tell he was a good guy.
He would tell me stories about life on the street. My favorite one is one night in the park just a block from my house. Cooper park is a homeless persons paradise. It is big, has bathrooms, and is in an alright neighborhood. He had a long night of drinking. He was sleeping on the ground and had to urinate. His intoxication was too much for him to stand up and go to the restroom. He unzipped his fly and let it flow where he lay. Unfortunately he was on a incline and peed the wrong way. He said he had to roll down to keep from getting soaked, yet it was unsuccessful.
Now what kind of job can you get a story like that except for a bar? He also got mugged by a fellow unfortunate, and they took his leatherman knife. That one really bumbed him out. He would always talk about getting his shit together. Like they all say after a few dollar pints.
One day he was gone. I wondered about him for a little while, and then forgot about him.
I went to the quickie shop to get some supplies. And there he was. Clean, dressed nicely in jeans and a tucked in flannel shirt. He had some facial hair that hid his deformaties. He had glasses for his one good eye. He was purchasing a twelve of diet mountain dew, not the 40 of mickeyâ€™s I was picking up. He did not notice me and I made no effort to talk to him. For I already knew he was doing well. He got into an old ford work van and drove away. And I was really proud of him. Some people would say it was the work of god, yet I believe that he just wanted better for himself, and decided to make good. I believe that the goodness is inside of us all, some need religion for them to see it. And others need to pee on themselves.