Mad Mike

Mad Mike was a homeless drunk, now he is a rich guy.  Nobody is sure what to make of the situation, but you can read about simpler times here:


When you spend a lot of time on the streets, you begin to classify bums by the different drugs they use as an easy way to predict their behavior. You, of course, have your languid weed bums and their new sub-group, the K2 bum, who spends all day in a dead-eyed stupor talking to himself and staring at the ground. You have your heroin bums who nod off mid-sentence and your crack bums who rage all night and into the early morning hours until they finally hit some kind of critical mass around sunrise and begin to believe the birds are out to get them.

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A few days ago I was walking down the street early in the morning when I saw him standing outside the Taco Bar. I’ve been seeing him for over a year now, a huge black guy who never bathes, changes clothes, or, from what I can tell, ever leaves the same three-block radius. I call him the Ghost because I like to think he’s the spirit of a schizophrenic bum who was murdered years ago, and only I can see him. The Ghost is always talking to himself and staring off into space and, when he’s feeling lively, he goes to the corner and tries to get people to give him money for tacos. He is a menacing presence and obviously enjoys using his size to intimidate people.

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The worst Ash Wednesday I ever had was the one where I pepper sprayed a bunch of football jocks at random,

and received the most   severe beating of my life.

When I woke up that morning, the first thing I noticed was that my face was stuck to the pillow with dried blood. I slowly peeled it off and sat up in a haze of nausea and confusion. I was in my room on Prytania St. and all the clothes and possessions I’d had with me the night before were strewn haphazardly about the ground. I saw my can of pepper spray amongst the debris, picked it up, and gave it a shake. It was empty: an omen of ominous portent. I vaguely remembered some bad ugliness from the night before, but couldn’t make any sense of it. The last thing I could recall was hanging out on Frenchmen St. with some friends from out of town. I was very drunk, and we were all huffing the nitrous balloons they used to sell down there on special occasions. I had been in a bad mood, and the nitrous only made it worse, causing me to lapse into a state of what Steinbeck called “dark, unholy despondency.”

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all of a sudden I regained consciousness

and became aware of my surroundings. I was sitting on a bench by the river and a guy who I could only vaguely remember arguing with was lying on his back in front of me. A couple of gutter punks sitting on the nearest bench were chastising me for what they saw as needless violence. “Dude, what the fuck is wrong with you? He didn’t deserve that at all.” I remember thinking, “I must be pretty fucked up if these gutter punks are scandalised by my behavior.”

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One day, two bourgeois scumbags

were sitting on the balcony of an ivory tower, eating apples and throwing the cores into a trashcan between them. Down on the street below, they spotted an old homebum who was also eating an apple. The scumbags saw an opportunity to argue about their political beliefs. The first scumbag, who was a Republican, said, “Look at that animal. He’s a fine example of what’s wrong with the world today. A cancer on this society. I’ll bet you my Hummer H3 that when he’s done with that apple, he throws the core onto the ground.”

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I’ve always thought there were too many shots of penetration in porno films


It’s not so bad these days, but back in the VHS era it was by far the dominant motif. Most films were identical: a few lines of bad dialogue, then off comes the pizza uniform and next thing you know it’s five minutes of repetitive motion. On fast forward, videos of old-school sex movies look exactly like aerobic routines. I’m not saying to leave the penetration out-- that would be ludicrous --but there are other things you can do that are far more visually interesting. In this way, modern porn vastly improves upon the comparatively unsophisticated filth of yore. 

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It had been a grim and brutal day of repeated disappointment and base degradation.

All the traditional spots had been bone dry and all the secondary spots equally so. In the wake of this fruitless labor, bereft of drugs, I began to doubt my chosen path as a scavenger of intoxicants from the ground. Perhaps it was not a noble calling of the highest value, as I had always surmised, but a shallow delusion; a hollow flight of fancy. 

It was in this moment of self-doubt that I looked to my right and saw, wedged between two dumpsters, a foam cooler, glistening in the sun. Its disheveled condition led me to believe that it had been left behind from last night’s party, and was now waiting patiently for a new owner to claim it. Not one to question the will of god, neither to ignore the whimsy of fate, I opened the cooler to find, at the bottom of a small, icy lake, eight fully intact Coors Lights. 

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I was living with a couple named Heather and Lloyd.

They’d met at a Trekkie convention and had gotten married in a traditional Star Fleet ceremony in Vegas. They were real New Agey, Pagany, Wiccany kind of folks. There was a mantelpiece in the house you weren’t supposed to touch because it was “for the fairies.” They would put ginger and cinnamon out overnight, and check it in the morning to see if any was missing.

Heather and Lloyd were swingers and were deeply into BDSM. They had chains and hooks hanging from their bedroom ceiling and a whole arsenal of whips and riding crops readily at hand. They were open about their lifestyle, and we often discussed it at length. 

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The Squirrel Whisperer

I like to get stoned and watch the squirrels. If I’m sufficiently baked, I can watch them for hours on end. I’ve always identified with Jane Goodall, not because I think idly watching squirrels is akin to studying chimpanzee behavior, but because I can easily imagine waking up every morning, sitting in a bush, and observing animals in a trance-like state.

You know how sometimes when you get high, the animals around you seem to be high also? I get that a lot with the squirrels. It seems like their nut foraging behavior, as well as their extreme paranoia, are somehow in tune with the stoner mind-set. One doesn’t have to stretch to envision them ducking behind a tree every now and then for a quick toke.

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Of all the things the establishment fears,

nothing fills them with   greater dread   than the self-contained,  extended family. 

The dog-eat-dog mentality they want you to accept as a natural law of the universe falls apart for the obvious bullshit it is once you start caring about one another and acting for the good of the community, rather than the good of yourselves.

The nuclear family is important, and no one would suggest that the bond you feel with your closest relations is arbitrary, but society functions best when we all look out for each other’s common interests. When you start worrying about your neighbor’s well being, the selfish drives The Man wants to take primacy in your life start to break down, and you become less susceptible to his brainwashing.

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