An illiterate man living under a bridge in the City of Angels, who identifies himself simply as “L.A. Al,”1 has been caught speaking in palindromes by locals and observant passers-by. This is causing quite a stir, as some find it amusing, others outrageous or even downright rude.
For example, when a tourist couple asked him directions, showing him their tourbook and explaining that they couldn’t make sense of the fold-out map which seemed to be missing a large section of the city, he curtly pointed out the street where they were and stated, “Page gap.”
And while most of Los Angeles’ homeless are happy to give you the time of day, especially for a small tip, this man is known to superciliously tap his watch, saying, “Emit time. Emit time.” On occasion he even heckles fisherman on the piers with phrases like “You be me buoy!” and “Ten worm row net!”
His habits have got him into trouble with the law, too. Once a police officer found him sleeping on a park bench and asked him to find some other place to sleep, and he replied “Sir, beds are rarer as debris,” which didn’t exactly make the officer happy. He was later caught stealing bananas from a local convenience store, and while the cashier tried to grab him across the counter, he quickly fled the scene shouting “Banana nab!” at which the cashier simply gave up the chase. At the time, bananas were priced at 79 cents each, which the cashier said was really quite a bargain.2
The man claims he once played guitar in two popular music groups, a blues outfit called DNA Brewer Band and a hard rock group called Noise Lesion, but this claim is unsubstantiated. However, he clearly knows some music lingo, as one Scottish street performer relates that, while tuning his bagpipes, L.A. Al approached and told him to “tune kilt like nut.” The Scot, named Mr. Scott, said this was great advice and thanked him profusely, even giving him a small tip.
He has been seen at several health care reform protests, which are quite trendy in recent years, holding no sign but leading fellow protesters in chants of “Medicare eracidem!” which, loosely translated from Latin, means “Medicare has killed a whole era.” He also seems to have pacifist leanings, and calls the U.S. military and anyone he sees in military uniform a “poor troop.”
However, he seems rather agreeable if you have breakfast with him. We had a chance encounter with L.A. Al last Thursday while scoping out a Los Angeles diner, and while we normally put only sugar in our tea, he had an idea which turned out to make a very tasty treat. “No, man, nice cinnamon,” he said. And this particular tea (orange pekoe black) was actually quite nice with cinnamon added.
“Miernik waraktorów MW8-75-II w Muzeum Palindromów w Nowej Wsi,” by Adam Kliczek, http://zatrzymujeczas.pl. When reusing, please credit me as author: Adam Kliczek, http://zatrzymujeczas.pl. If you use my image on your website, please send me an email with webpage address. If you use my image in your book, please send me one copy to my home address, which I will provide by email. Contact me at: adam.kliczekgmail.com CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. Cropped.