When you grow up in Los Angeles, you experience lots of chance encounters with actors, rock stars, news personalities and the like. There’s also a lot of “local color” – local characters who make the street scene interesting. Venice Beach was always like a circus with all the pretty people, the odd people, the talented performers and the muscle beach crew. Once in a while though, a particular person you met kind of stuck with you. Believability, magnetism, mystique, charisma – something about them just grabbed you. Maybe you’ve met someone like that.
There’s a story about a man from a small insignificant town. His name had three parts, but he preferred that his friends call him by his first name. He was of no reputation. There was nothing about him that should attract anyone to him. He had no connections. He was a man of no means and described himself as “homeless; without a place to sleep”. He dressed like the poor man he was – sandals and a robe with a cloak for a coat. His attire caused people to think he belonged to a religious cult. But despite his destitute life, he seemed to be known just about everywhere.
He was like a walking civil disturbance. Every time he showed-up in a town or at the beach, a crowd would gather until it resembled a political rally. People came just so they could say they heard him talk or that they got to shake his hand. He would hang out with anyone, eat with anyone, walk anywhere with anyone and discuss anything with anyone. He spoke with dazzling clarity and wisdom. A lot of people who knew him wrote books about the things he said and did. Just about everyone wanted to be associated with him. There was, however, a group who opposed him because he criticized them and wouldn’t allow them to control him or profit from him.
His growing popularity and unapproved gatherings lead to his impressive arrest record. It was as if the police arrested him just so they could take him to the station and listen to him talk while they tried to figure him out. He’d always be released a few hours later. Although this homeless man had celebrity status, no one has a photo of him – this man who rode on a borrowed ride down the highway of riches, a boulevard lined with palm trees and draped with designer garments – this man without a dime to his name but who entertained priests and scholars, governors and kings and who was reputed to have talked to angels.
Someone started a rumor about his blood being stored at some research hospital because he used to talk about it having healing powers – something like “All mankind will be saved by my blood”. It would take a lot of blood to make an immunization for that many people. Maybe that’s what killed him; nobody knows because the grave where he was supposedly buried is empty. If he did shed his blood for mankind, I wonder what he got for it. But then again, who could put a price on that kind of sacrifice?
© 2014 Curt Savage Media