Tales of the Random by Matt


A few weeks ago I was walking to work through Pierce Park and saw the three guys in the picture, seemingly between permanent housing and a little tipsy, engaged in a semi-serious lesson in the use of numchucks. Not a typical sight on the walk to work and it really made the rest of my day. The guy who had put himself in charge of giving the lessons was clearly not an expert. He was concentrating hard just to get the numchucks to fly around his shoulders a few times without hitting his face. I really wanted to get my phone out and take a picture, but was afraid of the potential consequences given their activity. I think I could have outrun them if necessary, but having to tell the story of how I had gotten numchucked by three homeless dudes wasn’t something I wanted to risk.

I almost thought it was all a dream when, tonight, I was walking home from work and these guys were crossing the Duke Ellington bridge on their way toward the park. The picture really doesn’t do it justice, but these guys had gotten a hold of two busted Rascal type mobility chairs. One of the chairs was broken down so it was being towed by the other. I may have witnessed the first Rascal to Rascal tow. The chair in back was tied to the one in front with what looked like a long shoe string. It was actually working pretty well for them.

As I got closer I could see that they were having a great time towing the Rascals back to who knows where. Seeing as they were in a good mood, were at least implying a preference against serious efforts of mobility, and didn’t the numchucks out, I felt safe enough to snap a shot this time. Clearly, I still wasn’t comfortable enough to draw attention to myself by standing still to take the picture, but I think the scene comes across.

Not sure if they know that teaching numchuck lessons without qualification or a care in the world and Rascal riding are on my bucket list. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

8 Comment

  • sadly. this is not the first rascal to rascal tow I have witnessed. also. more common then the tow is the rascal to rascal push. and ive also witnessed a rascal to manual wheel chair push. (I live near a city run old folks home)

  • I know I’ve been influenced by growing up with an old Irish Bronx dad who would talk to anyone anywhere anytime about anything (perhaps the only GI in history who was hauled off by the MPs in WW2 to force him to go HOME – from a poker game in Marrakesh,) but I don’t understand why you didn’t talk to the guys the first time you met them if they interested you. Yes, just snapping a photo of the “natives” is always a bit rude, but why not just stop and talk with them for a few minutes?

    I’ve found the biggest threat from most “homeless dudes” is that they will talk you to death if given the chance. Mostly I’m curious about how people engage (or don’t) in random encounters with people outside their comfort zone. Discuss?

  • Numchucks?! Oh, dear.

  • Last night, a friend of mine and I were walking down, and then back up again, we got lost, anyways, we were walking down 19th street and we pass by what we thought was very odd and actually very rude. There were two homeless guys trying to sleep in their respective corners on an otherwise quiet street but right in front of both of them was a business man in a suit talking very loudly on his cell phone. Of all the places to stop and talk he was right in front of these two sleeping people. Now, sure its a public space, and not actually in fact, their bedrooms, but it was 12am and there was tons of empty places considering it was just the two of us passing through, that guy and the two homeless people for as far as the eye could see! I wish I had video footage of it, instead I just have a picture of my friend standing waist deep in an old tree stump!

    This comment really has no point.

  • i want to hang with those dudes.

  • Anyone ever notice the sheer abundance of those Rascal type scooters in our city?? Seems like every other person is riding them. Is it bad that I kind of want one too?

    Hoodrat, I’m totally with you on that.

  • Homeless drunks doing stupid stuff! This is an important “urban experience” that needs to be preserved for posterity (from a safe distance, of course).


  • Those mobility scooters are covered by Medicare/Medicaid, so pretty much anyone who can document any kind of mobility problems can get on paid for and delivered!

Comments are closed.