Sunday, August 19, 2012
Mad Max 2
I was reminded of both this personal and societal loss when I bumped into the diner’s number two man for many years. Fortunately, he has found work in the area. While I chatted with him, an old blowhard got out of a car and yelled over, “Hey, Pete!” I asked, “Wasn’t he a diner customer?” Pete replied, “A long time ago.” I, of course, knew that Max was indeed a patron. He was unforgettable.
Almost invariably, Max would double park his huge boat of a car and have arguments with people on the street before entering the diner. He ordered the same thing all the time—like so many of us did—and executed his usual pre-meal ritual. Before eating his ham and egg sandwich, he swallowed a medley of meds and then swigged from a bottle of Pepto-Bismal, which he pulled out of his jacket pocket. Max was always loud and loutish.
What surprised me about seeing Max in the flesh today was that I presumed he was long dead. The man was old, obese, and red-skinned many, many years ago. He appeared then to be among the living courtesy of those pockets full of pills and bottles of Pepto-Bismal. But there Max was—all these years later and in living color—double parked in a heavily trafficked thoroughfare and heading off to purchase lottery tickets, which was where Pete was going, too. Somehow, though, seeing Mad Max alive and well—albeit still old, obese, and red-skinned—made my day.