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The dancing homeless drug addict

Growing Up Bronx

The dancing homeless drug addict

When we were kids, we weren’t always the kindest people. In fact, some days were just assholes. Mind you, things were not the way they are today. There wasn’t as much awareness, and once again, we just dumb ghetto kids.

So there was this homeless guy, or he was a drug addict, or both, I don’t quite remember. I do remember his name was Tony, and he was always asking everyone for money.

Bare in mind, we were kids, and we didn’t have money like that. If anything we had a quarter or something. I remember that somehow we got to telling Tony to dance for the quarter. In spanish we’d say,

Baila Tony, baila!

Then Tony would wine his waist and go up and down for the entertainment of these little ghetto kids. In hindsight, I feel bad about it. We were making this dude dance and make a fool of himself for our entertainment for the price of a 25 cent juice. It’s pretty sad actually.

In any case, he would do it for the older guys, if it was us younger kids, he’d hesitate, and think about it before doing a quick dance. So he wasn’t as stupid or messed up as he pretended to be. I think he knew that the older guys were a threat, and us little guys were just trying to be down.

There were a few times it was like two of us younger kids, and his eyes would betray him and say to me that he wanted to slap the shit out of us. But then not far away he’d notice the older guys, and then he’d dance a bit. I think he feared them, and he did it because of that. Or maybe they had more money to give him? I don’t know.

In any case, that memory came back to me and I wondered what Tony was up to these days? I wonder if he’s still alive and if he stopped asking prepubescent children for quarters in exchange for a silly dance.

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