Thursday, September 30, 2010


I have known many weirdos, far & wide, as they tend to be the kind of people I prefer. I had a tshirt once that had the cast of Peanuts on it with the line, 'My friends are all such characters.' True words.
But as I have or will blog about those folks sometime here, I'm focusing only on the really OUT THERE weirdos I've known. Here's my Top Five:

1. Alice the Goon

This dude was F-ed up! I've never learned his real name or anything about his history, but he looked EXACTLY like Alice the Goon from the old Popeye cartoon, but with long, witchy hair. Definitely same build, same crazy eyes. He would ride his bike all around my hometown, picking up cans for the deposit. He rode his bike so slowly, we couldn't figure out how he stayed on it at all. He defied all kinds of physics. Of course, he occasionally slept on it too, propped up against a telephone pole or streetlight.

2. Jack Kemp

Nope, not this dude. Just a guy completely off his walnut who shared his name. Really nutters. Possibly a situation where he was phased out of an institution and into mainstream society. Liked to talk to his groceries as he was walking home from the store, particularly toilet paper.
You should've seen the double-takes and shocked looks when the Official Jack Kemp announced his run for President. The Jack Kemp For President yard signs around our town were quickly confiscated as souvenirs.

3. Orange Running Man

My fellow Ithacans may be familiar with this guy. He always wears a hoodie, sweatshorts, straggling mud-spattered crew socks, wears a backpack, is bright orange, and runs all around town from downtown up to Hanshaw Road and back again over and over, usually with an expression on his face that would lead you to think he's on death's doorstep. If he weren't in his athletic gear, he'd be the spitting image of the hobo Pee Wee Herman rode in the traincar with in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. You know, the one who wouldn't stop singing:

4. Lisa David
An Ithaca landmark. Lisa may be the most 'rode hard put away wet' crossdresser in the central NY area. There's a different theme of costume each year (very little Edie Beale's "Revolutionary Costume for Today"). Last year's was a Marching Band Majorette theme. Lisa has a tricked-out bicycle with milk crates attached to the back with hand-painted flames. There's also a boombox mounted on the handlebars that blasts out the year's theme song as she rides around town. (Also slowly- hmm?)

While various Journey songs have been utilized, my favorite is always Asia's The Final Countdown, partly for the irony, partly because it reminds me of Gob from Arrested Development:

5. Bendy Man
He was one of the characters that used to hang out around the Chinese restaurant across the street from one of my offices. The girl who worked in the box office a floor below would call me when things were slow and narrate Bendy Man's adventures. We called him Bendy Man because he would contort himself into the strangest positions while he draped himself around the park bench out front.  Apparently, he's an intensely intelligent former professor.


  1. Great weirdo stories!!
    I'm a fan of characters myself. It's weird there's this whole group of dullards out there. I know they exist. I don't associate with them.

    We also had a bicycle rider/can collector. She was in the town over and we'd see her all the time. Then I saw she had a wooden bridge over a tiny creek in her back yard. I'm a sucker for bridges! If there's a bridge there's no sense not walking over it.

    I go down there and start walking. The old lady comes out and shouts at me telling me she had traps down there and I was going to scare them away. I don't know what them was. Something in the creek.

  2. I love bridges too!
    Now I'm insanely curious about what she was trapping. Gnomes? Crawdads? Misbehaving children?