Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Man with Two Eyes

When I see someone with a ghastly face, I try to count the recognizable features as quickly as I can. In his case, he has two eyes, right where they should be, but that's about it.

It appears he's had his jaw removed due to cancer. His cheeks are lopsided, with one much larger than the other. Part of one of his ears is missing. Maybe it's a ghoulish birth defect or the result of an injury, but the pattern of scars along his jawline make me think otherwise.

I've never seen him without a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He can't even make the three-block walk from his house to his favorite bar without a sip and a smoke. God, who could blame him? I go into depression from so much as a pimple. He must look at people with severe skin diseases or cystic acne with envy. He probably hasn't had to listen to some teenager wail about how zits have ruined their social life in ages, because what he has going on pretty much trumps all that.

He's also addicted to prostitutes. They've seen it all, but I doubt they can look at him while they "work". Then again, they probably don't look at any of their johns too closely, for fear they might accidentally make eye contact. A revolting, shame-inducing job isn't going to change just because a client is attractive.

My one and only conversation with him was mostly about alcoholism and addiction. We were walking the same direction, and ended up chatting for several blocks until he reached his bar and I reached my home. By the end of the walk we decided that, on rare occasion, it's okay to be an addict. Sometimes it just doesn't matter. He knows he's one of the few, and I know I'm not.

No worries, new friend. No one blames you for hastening your own end, even those who would blame you for your face.

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