What, the Old Geezer is among the living? Charles Walsh, the irrepressible linguistic heirloom, resumes the wrinkled Runyon of rumination in new commentaries for OIB. If you’re new to the Old Geezer, he pontificates on a park bench in Seaside Park about all kinds of stuff. Check out Charles and the Old Geezer with more to come.
Editor’s note: No one was more surprised–make that shocked–than we were when, while cruising Barnum Boulevard in Seaside Park one blazingly hot day last week, we spotted a strangely familiar shape seated on a seaside bench with knees bared and a folding sun reflector planted firmly under his chin. It was none other than The Old Geezer, whose age estimates are best worked on IBM’s Watson computer. We hadn’t seen that old gent–whose facial wrinkles rival a Google Map of Manhattan–around town for several years. What follows is a nearly verbatim transcript of our reunion conversation.
Us: Hey there Mr. Geezer, where in God’s name have you been?
The Old Geezer: Well sonny, as I live and breathe, and believe me, after the life I’ve led I’m lucky to still be doing either! Great to see you. To tell you the truth sonny, I was … how to put this, ah, Geezer-napped by the government. Some people call it “in jail,” but it was a frame-up all the way. They were trying to muzzle me.
Us: You’re kidding! What charge did they trump up?
OG: Hey, careful with the Donny-boy references. He’ll insult you in a Tweet. You remember how the Meals On Wheels truck used to roll by the bench to drop off lunch and dinner for me? Well one afternoon a couple of sheriffs with pot bellies the size of beach balls pull up and slap the cuffs on me. In court the judge, a man unfamiliar with the phrase “milk of human kindness,” says I owe the city social services department $126,000 in unpaid bills. Either pay up, he says, or take a vacation at Fort Dix. Seems checks got lost in the mail. Dang that Post Office.
Us: The low-lifes.
OG: You’re being too kind, sonny. The next thing I know I’m being body cavity searched and fitted for something in a shade of Day-Glo orange.
Us: Geeze, at your advanced age that’s cruel and unusual punishment.
OG: Well sonny, to tell you the truth it wasn’t all that bad. You know, three squares, a flop and some convivial dorm mates. And guess what. Quite a few of my pals were former Park City-ites. If you can believe it, these guys were still eating that punk jail food. In less than two weeks I had Peapod delivering groceries direct to our dormitory. Next thing you know we’re whipping up bowls of pasta and gravy a la Pauly Cicero in “Good Fellas.” One of the guys got us regular deliveries of first-class vino from a liquor store in Amity.
Us: Amazing, but knowing you …
OG: Yeah, I developed my prison survival skills during two years on Devil’s Island after whacking a gendarme during a “Free Dreyfus”rally.
Us: Must have been real culture shock when you got out.
OG: Three thousand volts, sonny. Suddenly everybody’s staring down at their palms like they’re waiting for news of the end of the world. On the first day out somebody told me the city was smacked by a tornado back in 2010. At first I thought “big deal, those council people have always been spinning out of control.” But guess what, it was a REAL tornado. Ripped up the old berg pretty good I hear. Somebody said they saw a girl and a little white dog fly over the Barnum Museum, which has been boarded up ever since. Six years. What’s the hold-up? I’ve seen entire Kansas towns rebuilt faster that.
Us: I suppose you heard Ganim got reelected mayor after he got out of jail.
OG: You mean Joe “We-Can’t-Wait-To-Have-Our-Day-In-Court” Ganim? Well I’ll be. Mayor?! I knew that boy had spunk when he helped me write my Supreme Court appeal. Didn’t work out, but he’s a helluva typist.
Us: Well he’s been pretty active. Recently he christened a “City Hall on Wheels.”
OG: Brilliant. You never know when you’ll need to make a fast getaway.