Thursday, December 13, 2007
Another Christmas Memory (Or, Do You Hear Band-Aid?)
For two years when I lived in Boston, I walked through Boston Common every day to go to work. And, every day, just as I exited the park approaching Downtown Crossing, I saw a homeless guy named Mike.
I know his name was Mike because after the first couple of weeks of taking this walk to work, he leapt in front of me.
"Hey. I see you everyday, so I should introduce myself. I'm Mike."
And with that burst of unusual-for-Boston urban friendliness, I became one of Mike's, uh, patrons; I gave him whatever change I had on me every time I saw him.
Mike was always making people laugh. Once when a highly uptight woman aggressively ducked out of his path, Mike stepped in her way to say:
"Hey lady, where you goin? I don't want to fuck you. I just want your change."
It takes a lot to crack the facades of typical Bostonians, but Mike did it with ease.
One day about this time of year, Mike stood close to the Park Street T Station singing Band-Aid's charity song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" with some lyrics of his own.
Instead of singing "Do they know it's Christmas time at all?" Mike, shaking his hat, sang:
"Let me know it's Christmas time right now!"
I think I gave him five bucks...but the laugh I got that day was priceless.