Trevor and Gerry

Woke up wet again, after another dream of Sarah-Katherine. Damn my doublecrossing dick! I am not 17 any more, and I don't have buckets of spunk to spare. Quantities are limited, and she'll be here tomorrow!

♦ ♦ ♦ 

On the Avenue, I'm starting to not hate Trevor. He's a street preacher and wacko vendor, and I don't believe I've mentioned him before. He preaches about Jesus sometimes, and he's in favor of the guy. He's also one of the anarchist vendors, selling "Smash the state" bumper stickers and t-shirts. And he talks politics a lot, but like his religion, his politics makes no sense to me — he thinks Clinton is America's finest President.

And yet, Trevor makes me smile. Give me time, I might actually like him. When he's not talking religion or politics, he's a decent dude, which is better than anyone says about me. When he's talking religion I tune him out, but when he's talking politics he'll let you make a point, politely pretend to listen, and then change the subject.

Today he worked next to me, and we talked about the Gulf War, which he supported and I didn't. I 'splained the obvious reasons why it was dumb and cruel to drop bombs and kill people. It usually is.

Trevor heard me out, and then explained that while the Gulf War may have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, lax standards for playground equipment at public parks and schools cause thousands upon thousands of deaths every year. "And other than Bill Clinton," he said, "who's making a stink about that?"

Well, you've got me there, Trevor.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Berkeley is chock full o' nuts, and Trevor is nowhere near the nuttiest. I don't know who takes the fruitcake, but there are plenty of candidates, and most of them are in the free speech ghetto. 

Consider the Hate Man, or Mr Testosterone.

Here's the Hissy Fit, a black man who walks up and down Telegraph, never saying anything, only hissing and sputtering.

Or Pink Man, who wears a bring pink spandex full bodysuit and pedals the Ave on his unicycle.

And of course, there are a hundred street kids, some who've been on the street for so long they're not kids any more. America's oft-promised safety net is usually an illusion, and the kids don't qualify for it.

♦ ♦ ♦  

Among those of us who try to pass for normal, Gerry had to shut down his stand in the middle of the afternoon to go to court today. He was ticketed several weeks ago, for vending without a license. That's a cost of doing business, if you refuse to play by either of the city's two sets of asinine rules for street vendors.

So he packed up his table, leaned all his stuff against a tree poking through the sidewalk, and asked me to keep an eye on it while he was gone. I sat there and sold fish, and wondered what I'd do with Gerry's stuff if the judge ordered him jailed and he didn't come back.

He came back, though. Setting up his table again, he told me he'd lost his case "in about twenty seconds flat."  He explained to the judge that he has a table full of political petitions and pro-pot literature, and he talks to people about it, and that's the First Amendment because obviously it is.

And yes, in answer to the judge's question, Gerry said he also has some pro-pot bumper stickers and iron-on patches, which he sells.

"Sells?" said the judge, and slammed his hammer down. "You need a license to sell, and you got no license." He has thirty days to pay a big fine, several hundred dollars, or it'll be thirty days in jail.

Another unlicensed vendor, listening to Gerry's story with me, smacked him gently in the head, and said, "Donations, dummy! We don't sell anything, we take donations!"

"Yeah, right," Gerry said. "We take 'donations', just like Sears."

Republicans reading this will say that Gerry should be fined and/or imprisoned. He's vending without a license, and the law is the law. If that's your reaction, you're an ass dripping diarrhea. And also, Republicans shouldn't be reading this.

Gerry talks to people all day, the very definition of free speech. He's also homeless, like several other free speech vendors. Selling his iron-on patches is how he eats, and he'll never be able to pay the fine, so in thirty days he's going to jail.

Laws and judges conspire to make it impossible, illegal, for a poor man like Gerry to eke out an honest living without permits, licenses, and registration fees that he cannot possibly afford. And what do you suppose poor people do, when it's illegal to be self-supporting like Gerry is? Go on the dole, or become beggars, or mug somebody. Every other choice is illegal.

From Pathetic Life #19
Thursday, Dec. 7, 1995

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

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