Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Legend of Johnny Schitzo

(subtitled: Back from the Dead)

*I usually don't like to post photos of the people written here, as to avoid exploitation. But this one was too good to pass up. It explains Johnny well...





One of the handful of familiar faces I've encountered at the downtown Baptist Beach Head on Fridays is the young Johnny Schitzo.

Johnny has got to be one of the most difficult humans to be around in the fair mother city. He's annoying. It's almost as if his annoyingness gets custom molded to each person he's around. As if the demons that reside in him know just what bugs you personally.

He's really like a modern-day "Legion", or so I think. I believe in demon possession and I believe it's the CEO's desire (and the mandate for his followers) to set these captives free. But I'm still reading the manual on that one. I don't know if exorcism involves a specific ritual or just love. Perhaps it's different for each possessed person. I think the timing is key. The CEO's timing for his glory.

Well anyway, after not having a social/ministerial apparatus like the izzy group anymore, I run into Johnny Schitzo for the first time in over 3 years. Johnny isn't the complete stereotype homeless person (ex: grizzly Viet-nam vet w/ a backpack and camo pants). He's in his mid 20's, almost always rides a kid sized dirt bike (usually stolen), lies like a maniac, has a major clepto problem, always trying to be funny and laughing with a comical-annoying laugh that never ends ("ah HUHUHUHUHUHUHUH"), and tries to pick verbal fights with anyone who'll dare debate him on any useless trivia. This is probably what gets me since I hate debating with a passion. But I've learned how to engage Johnny without letting things get haywire.

Johnny is really like a little kid without any parents. I've seen his sweet and child-like side, which comes out when no one else is around. Most homeless folks have a camp somewhere hidden in town. It's usually a very private question to ask where a homeless guy sleeps, but I asked Johnny anyway. He told me he used to sleep in the Rose Park bathroom. I don't like using the BATHROOM in the Rose Park bathroom. I can't imagine sleeping in there. Back when the izzy group ran a once-a-week shelter, I remember Johnny sleeping on the air-mattress, curled up in a fetal position, going to bed before all the other guys and being the last one to wake up in the morning. I think it was the most sleep he got in a long time.

Now here we go...I have the BEST story EVER. Of ALL TIME. And it involves Johnny...

One day about 4 years ago an unidentified homeless man was killed by a passing train here in the fair mother city. The local law enforcement called in Hewie Marks, pastor of a well known church with homeless folks, to identify the body. According to Hewie, identifying a body that was hit by a train is pretty difficult. But the dead guy kind of looked like Johnny Schitzo, had a bike like Johnny's, and was carrying a bible with Johnny's name written inside. Bingo. Johnny Schitzo is dead.

Word got out all over town on the streets. Even a local TV news outlet announced Johnny Schitzo being dead. That night was the evening for the izzy group's shelter. Guys who literally hated Johnny (which is about everyone on the planet) were now out on the porch crying. "I can't believe he's gone". "I was just with him yesterday". "He didn't look suicidal". "Why'd he jump in front of a train?!?" We were all out on the porch mourning, asking the CEO "why".

Then...as the CEO is my witness...out of the dark, down the sidewalk we hear that familiar happy-go-lucky, annoying kid-like voice: "Hey. I heard everyone thought I was dead".

Like Christ on the road to Emmaus, Johnny was standing in our midst. And there was silence. Then there was screaming. Guys who were just crying about him were now hugging and kissing him. We brought Johnny inside the building and everyone freaked out. It was like a huge party.

And the sad part is, within 30 minutes everyone went to hating him again, but only mildly. Johnny has that effect on people.

Hewie Marks had misidentified the body, a mistake I remind him of every time I see him. Hilarious.

Imagine wishing you had one more chance to say goodbye to someone who had passed. Or saying all the good things about a person that didn't have many good things to talk about. A bunch of homeless guys got that chance four years ago.

7 comments:

Verbny said...

I've never met Johnny and I think it would take me a long time and a lot more patience than I currently have to love him as you do, "but I love that story"!

imhschild said...

I wonder if Jesus ever thought people were annoying.

Scott said...

Johnny once told me that he had a super human immune system that he wanted to bottle up and sell to be a millionaire. This is strange because Johnny is always sniffling, coughing, clearing the flim out of his throat, and sounding sick.

Agent B said...

imhschild - I've often wondered the same. But if Jesus was human, than I'm sure he had limits like all of us.

Maybe that's why he withdrew from crowds often....?

the unimogger said...

I think people are annoying. People think I am annoying.

I kept mispronouncing Johnny's name in my head. Unless the c in Schitzo is supposed to be silent.

Agent B said...

The "c" is not silent. I thought about that after this post published...

priest said...

great story. hard laughter on this end. Schitzo incarnate.