T-shirt Collection: Check Your Head


Photo by Ron

My last night in New York and I returned to the hotel fresh from my winnings at poker. I lingered street level as the lights of Times Square drew my attention down the block. Keeping the voice of Zelda Rubinstein at bay, I decided to call it a night and simply take one last photo for the digitization of my t-shirt collection.

I was in New York— it would be an appropriate backdrop for the Beastie Boys shirt I clung to for years.

I’ll go on record and say that Paul’s Boutique is my album of choice, bringing me instantly back to my senior year of high school, campfires and Busch Light.

But Check Your Head is damn fine. One song in particular crops up now and then, and was especially apropos for this particular photo.

When you’ve got so much to say it’s call gratitude.

A homeless man walked by yelling at folks for using fake German (to avoid tossing him a quarter I presume).

We started talking and I found he was from Dayton, Ohio. Asking how he ended up here, he told me the story of getting laid off at the plastic factory, then losing his wife shortly thereafter through a messy, greedy divorce. What wasn’t taken from him, he left behind or gave away.

He started to drift off into bitterness, but I stopped him.

“Giving’s the best thing in the world, isn’t it?” I asked and he agreed, excitedly. I recalled part of the sermon from the wedding I had just attended a few days prior. How if we put others before us, the balance will eventually fall into our favor.

A naive perspective if taken too grandly, but there are elements that can bring warmth within us when it’s cold outside in the world. We talked for what seemed like 10 minutes, and I could see the hunger in his eyes as he shifted on his feet. He asked for a dime.

I asked back if he’d take my picture and he seemed surprised.

“You trust me… don’t you?”

“More or less,” I said grinning, “But if you started off with this camera, I feel confident I could run you down.”

I told him which button to press and to not budge the camera for 2 seconds until the screen finished with the capturing.

“I can’t see your face.” he said while framing the shot.

I yelled facing the other way, looking at the lights, “Yeah. I know”

I gave him ten bucks for dinner or whatever else this bright big city had to offer, we parted ways with smiles.