Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
And then... I'm standing on the corner of the rest of my life, another homeless day on Sunset Cliffs Blvd...
I walk on in through these gates, up some stairs and into a piece of Lutheran Church. She asks,
"Do you have cooking facilities?"
"Yes", I lie.
"Great... Then I'll just give you everything."
Everything turns out to be: a can of sliced peaches, a can of pork & beans, a can of mixed vegetables, a lableless jar of peanut butter, a pack of lemon-filled cookies and a loaf of stale bread...
"Do you have a can opener?" "No..."
The kind woman hands me a microscopic army issue P-38 without instructions and two slices of processed process cheese, with a ziplock containing two hot dogs.
A Russian prisoner, wrongly charged with espionage gets 2 four-hundred gram loaves of bread, a bowl of porridge, a hot cup of tea, and 2 small lumps of sugar a day. I'm eligible for this deal a half a dozen times a lifetime.
I walk outside and sit on some shady concrete bench in the courtyard. I have trouble breaking off a piece of the baked fresh daily Ciabatta Artisan bread. Like a building in that classic movie 'Earthquake' it all crumbles in my lap with the first bite. I sift through the bready rubble for pieces big enough to dip into the peanut butter. This is like searching for earthquake survivors, tedious. An elderly Joe Pesci looking lunatic with a full grown salt & peppery beard walks up to me fingering his swollen red eyes and smiling. I just know he wants my cheese. He talks like 'Robot' from 'Lost In Space'. Suddenly I feel like Will Robinson... WARNING... WARNING...
"I am seventy-years old. I have never been out of the state of California."
The lunatic's burning eyes go wide and open like a Cheshire cat's grin. He steps back, looks behind himself, perhaps pondering the looking glass or gravity and asks, "Did you go to that high school?" He see's my maroon and gold lettered P.L.H.S. t-shirt.
"Point Loma... Oh no... I found it in a dumpster."
"I used to get beat up at high school everyday. The kids hated me. My dad, who was a P.O.G. came up to the school one day and yelled at all the teachers and students. Everybody... The kids, the teachers... They all hated me after that."
"What's a P.O.G.," I asked?
"A Prisoner Of Glasses," the lunatic replied.
" A prisoner of..."
"Glasses... My father went crazy. His prescription... the glasses... the, the, the glasses prescription... were F.O.S., Frames Of Shame... They drove my father insane and that was why he would yell at me all the time. He beat me everyday. I made up all these terms, myself."
"What's your name brah..."? "Jimmy".
"I'm Tom... Nice to meet you."
"The L.O.P.'s, Lense Of Prentends, because it fools... tricks... you into seeing what is not really there. My father went crazy from wearing his L.O.P.'s you see."
"And that's because he was a P.O.G., right"?
"Yes, yes, yes... That is right... He had no choice you see. He had to wear the F.O.G.'s".
"Frames Of Shame."
Jimmy was pleased that I got him and I asked, "So Jimmy... How do you go on with life"?
"I... I... I... do not know".
"Well... Would you like some C.P.B."?
"Crunchy Peanut Butter my brother... Crunchy Peanut Butter...".