Jesus (pronounced HEY-ZEUS) was the homeless man that lived under the porch of the guy who lives a few doors down from me. Very rarely do I see the guy who lives INSIDE the building, but I know he’s really old, even older than Jesus, who appeared to be the better part of 60 or 70. Apparently the resident had some kind of agreement with Jesus, whereby Jesus got to sleep under the front porch, and the resident got . . . a lot of Jesus’ junk all over his front yard? I’m not sure how the guy benefited from the agreement, but the residents on the 1500 block of west Nelson street benefitted from seeing Jesus’ smiling face as he rode SLOWLY by on his bicycle. I liked saying hello to him as I walked by, even when the conversation would go like this:
Me: ‘Morning Jesus. How you doing?
Jesus: I’m broke, man.
Damn, Jesus! I know this! I guess I can’t blame him. “How you doing?” is kind of a dumb question when it’s asked of a guy living under a porch, but come on!! His other annoying thing was turning down food. My roommate gave him a patty melt once and he’s all, “I don’t like patty melts.” Yeah, okay, but I’ve seen you rooting through the garbage in the alleys for a snack, so where do you come off being so God damned picky?
I’m speaking of him in the past tense because I don’t know what happened to him. A couple months ago he disappeared. If winter were approaching I would say he went south like a bird, but summer is coming. Summer in Chicago is beautiful, even if you’re a bum, hell, especially if you’re a bum. Well, whether Jesus is dead, relocated, or whatever, he’s more than a bum. I’m not sure what else he’s about, but I know he was a human being and a fixture of our neighborhood for who knows how long. Jesus, wherever you are, may you never sleep in the cold, may you forever have a dollar in your pocket, and may your sandwiches NEVER be patty melts.