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By Joseph Dempsey fewworries

Sunday, December 16, 2007

This gentleman, of good attitude and a knowing smirk, is taking a morning smoke break on the stoop of an address I've forgotten in New Orleans' French Quarter. Many of you who have treaded the historic streets didn't need to be told where it was. You immediately recognized the light pole.

I saw this distinctive man and struck up a conversation with him. I asked if he minded if I photographed him. He said something to the effect of, "... hell, why not?" So I blazed away. That was in the mid-to-late nineties. We shot the breeze, much about nothing, and I departed — with my situation analysis bank kicking in.

Apparently his lifestyle agrees with him, because I noticed him from a distance during a subsequent "quarter" shooting adventure in 2006. He looked none the worse for wear. Perhaps a bit skinnier, if that is possible, but he was moving around with the same smile on his face and a spring to his step.

All of which gives one pause to think.

Here's a guy who, unless he is foisting a magnificent charade, has few worldly possessions and apparently precious few worries of the kind that frequently accompany ownership of an admirable inventory of stuff. (Remember George Carlin's rollicking treatise on "Stuff.") That the guy is strolling the same environs as ten or so years ago is prima facie evidence he has survived all that the world (and the Almighty, in the case of Katrina) could throw at him. The harshness of street life and the elements has apparently rolled off his person like water off a duck's back. He compensates for his lack of stuff with an fine attitude and resilience that is enviable.

To thinking people, the lesson is clear. Amen.

N O T E :  
Nikon N90s / Nikkor f2.8 35-70 zoom / Kodak CN 400 film / drum scanned / processed in Photoshop CS3

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