Turning Shit into Gold since 2006
Traveling along a downtown street on foot is the perfect place for any passing pedestrian to come in contact with a varying range of strange and deplorable characters. Some inspire, some enrage, but most add an unexpected dash of much needed humor to an otherwise mundane slew of afternoon errands. Where the path to the community college campus intersects with the bar littered debauchery of 6th street, a toothless man dressed in stained overalls pushes a discarded Target shopping cart full of personal possessions. Crushed aluminum pie pans and a bag of hardened Cocoa Puffs line the bottom of his junk stuffed cart. A large umbrella sticks out as the most valuable item in his scattered stash of hoarded goods. As he shuffles by he excitedly yells into a creditless Cricket phone, jabbering like a jay to a voiceless friend on the other side of the line. Rants that should have been extinguished once fallen upon nonexistent ears were not lost in the middle of my pavement pounding commute.
As I continued to observe this street walking treasure, it suddenly become apparent that there was another person paying this bum far too much attention from across the street. Following steadily behind the Benny Hill lookalike was an artsy young man with an expensive camera vulnerably swinging from his skinny neck. He seemed to be desperately photographing a procrastinated photography project as he walked to class, directing the willing participant to partake in stereotypical homeless hijinks. Every line of encouragement was spoken purely for artistic purposes. You would have thought that this guy was the spawn of Ginsburg the way he passive aggressively tried to capture the depth of his generation. He was swimming in a baby pool of emotions as circled the tragic traveler with his flashing Canon.
In an act of antiquated admiration, the student desperately encouraged the toothless bum to crawl into an alleyway dumpster in hopes of capturing an authentic street life moment. Without even the slightest hint of persuasion the hobo happily obliged by tipping head first into a giant trash bin, somehow avoiding a palm-full of rusty nails that were well hidden under a blanket of shredded paper and tossed rubbage. A few camera clicks later and it was time to edit the images into a PC Power Point presentable series of urban portraits. Glass shatter, gravity shift, and wind wisp sound effects would soon accompany each slide.
From trash collector to slide show stardom in less than three city blocks. Who knows, maybe his aluminum lined metal shopping cart was actually a source of undiscovered Wi-Fi that allowed him to access all of the government’s secret files they had amassed on him since his escape from the grips of a botched CIA operation, and in between bouts of paranoia and delusion he might be able to watch himself toddle around in a dumpster on YouTube. Probably not, but fantasy is always more fun than reality.