June 21, 2006

"Who wants free money?'

Some guy in Wales just starts throwing out £1,000. That's fun for passersby, but I'm afraid it the sign of a very troubled mind. Many years ago, I saw a man take out his wallet and hurl it as far away as he could. I saw it because I was called to my window by his shouting -- shouting just the words "asshole... scumbag" over and over. He took off each item of clothing and tossed it aside, all the while keeping up that chant, until he was stark naked and barefoot. (It was winter in Greenwich Village.) Then, still chanting, he started stalking along the sidewalk. I can't remember how funny or disturbing I thought that was, but I didn't do anything but watch him as he proceeded to the end of the long block, where the police arrived to give him a lift. Some time later, I believe, the man killed himself.

8 comments:

Dave said...

That's a ringing endorsement for NYC.

I love all the crazies in Greenwich Village.

Even with the gentrification, there's something in the air down there, a certain je ne sais quois, which attracts 'em all.

Prime people watching territory.

Ann Althouse said...

It was the best place I ever lived. 1977-1981. It's much cleaner and prettier these days, but it was really wonderful then. I never saw any violence or got harassed by anyone. It was great.

Dave said...

Greenwich Village is the only place in NYC I (almost) got mugged.

And that was about 6 years ago.

Marghlar said...

The line between amusement and sympathy for those who are publicly deranged is always hard. Like the people who wear really bizarre signs (such as the fellow who stands outside the Vatican embassy in DC) on a regular basis. Funny at first, but sad when you start thinking about it.

Bissage said...

Would anybody mind if I took this thread to a happier place?

The question was "[w]ho wants free money?"

The answer is Patti Smith.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Bissage. I have that album cover hanging on my living room wall.

MrsWhatsit said...

Hey, Ann, we were neighbors. I lived in Greenwich Village in 1977 -- in the West Village -- and I agree, it was wonderful. Safe, free of harassment, inexhaustibly interesting. I loved it.

Goesh said...

- there's just a morbid fascination with madmen/women for some reason. I've always felt hidden deeply in them was an undiscovered streak of sheer brilliance, but they tend to die off too quickly for it to emerge