That darn Jasper!

Berkeley's loudest anarchist is a street vendor named Jasper. He's the anarchist who ran straight to the city authorities to report that the fish-cart didn't have the right city permit to be considered a free speech table. (12/6), so he's el schmucko to me.

Now that the fish-cart is street legal, bearing the same silly free-speech permit that's on Jasper's table, he & I are supposed to be sell only on the free-speech side of the one block of Telegraph Ave where "free speech vendors" are permitted.

When it comes to that rule, though, Jasper is a scofflaw anarchist. He usually sets up his table on a different block, or on the disallowed side of the free-speech block, so I don't see him too terribly often, which is OK.

Well, maybe he migrates in the springtime, because today he was very much my neighbor. It was busier than it's been since Xmas, with lots of vendors selling, and Jasper worked on one side of Brenda, with me on her other side. I like Brenda, but Jasper was Jasper all day long.

We didn't have any confrontations, and in fact, Jasper and I said not a word to each other. That's my preference, and probably his, too.

I chatted with Brenda all day, and had a nice day, thank you, except for being close enough to hear every loud, obnoxious comment out of Jasper's fat ugly face. Whenever I wasn't selling a fish or talking with Brenda and sometimes when I was, the recurring thought monopolizing my own ugly face was, That darn Jasper!

Anything anyone says to him is an opportunity for Jasper to rattle off his smash-the-state politics, and it gets so very tedious.

And I know, yeah, that I was rattling off my own smash-the-state politics in the day before yesterday's entry, but it's different, in two ways. First, my anarchist thoughts are brilliant while Jasper's are stupid, but second, you have to drag me into that kind of conversation, but Jasper lives for it. 

Ask him how much a sticker costs, and he'll tell you that the control and enforced scarcity of money is how the capitalist pigs keep us all under their bloody thumbs and that the workers ought to control the economy democratically. Then he'll tell you that the stickers are three dollars, "suggested donation," but if you don't have three dollars he'll suggest you turn and walk away.

My (least) favorite Jasper moment today was when a guy tried to sell him a stack of bumper stickers. It was a college boy, and he'd had a bunch of stickers printed up that said "Quayl '97".

I'm sick of Dan Quayle jokes, and thankfully he's been out of office and mostly out of the news for four years now, but I at least get the joke — the sticker misspells his name like Quayle misspelled potatoe, and no national elections will be held in 1997. It's not a funny joke, but obviously it's a joke, right?

Jasper don't joke. He immediately started hollering at the guy, "I don't want anything with Quayle's name on it!" and "You think I'd sell stickers supporting that idiot for president?" and on and on.

Whenever the guy with the stickers tried to respond or explain, Jasper only yelled louder, Jasper-er, until the kid walked away flipping him the finger.

♦ ♦ ♦  

I was helping a customer, as Berkeley's crippled Christian rolled his wheelchair up to my table, looked at the fish, and maybe glared at me. It's hard to tell, because he keeps a cross dangling over his face, so maybe the cross was what was cross, not the man.

I've only written about him once before (1/6) but this disabled mega-Christian rolls around Telegraph several times every month, and in a word, he is creepy. His body and wheelchair are festooned with multiple crosses and crucifixes, he has crosses tattooed on each hand, more crosses are probably embroidered on his underwear, and he carries a Bible in his lap.

He's never yet said anything to me, but I'm certain I don't sell the style of Jesus fish he'd want to buy. And yet this afternoon, he parked his chair adjacent to my table, and silently stared at the fish.

I finished selling an Anti-Christ magnet to another college kid, but I glanced at the holy roller, thinking, You're waiting to talk to me? 

It's been a while since the Christers have given me a good yelling-at, so it's due, and if this paraplegic wants to scold me for selling blasphemous fish, I will give him the same rage I'd give anyone. You get no slack for your handicap, mister, not from me. Equal rights for equal wrongs.

So I smiled and said thanks to my customer, then turned to the very Christian in a wheelchair, and with a phony lilt to my voice said to him, "Our sacrilegious fish are all available as stickers or as magnets."

Oh, I was itchin' for a bitchin' Christian, and I wanted an excuse to ask him why in Christ's name he rolls around town sporting so many Christs on a cross, all with agonized looks on their wooden or metallic faces. But verily, before I'd finished my opening line about the stickers and magnets, he wheeled himself away.

From Pathetic Life #22
Saturday, March 23, 1996

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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