There’s a little Qwik-E-Mart type place – well, more of a mini-grocery+liquor+porn store just down the road from my pad. Run by a Pakistani family all devout Muslims.  The main guy is there all day, six days a week. 6 AM to 10 PM, 11 PM Friday and Saturday, 9 PM on Sundays.  That is nearly 100 hours a week.  But I’m not talking about him.

They employ a man for clean-up and shelf stocking.  This is who I am talking about. I am fairly sure he is suffering from Proteus Syndrome – aka The Elephant Man.  UPDATE: I asked him direct what happened.  It’s worse than I thought. He has no disease.  He applied some Mexican made face cream/balm and fell asleep with it on. His body reacted badly, nature is cruel.  This man looks like his face is …well, I can’t describe it.  Huge red lumpy growths cover his left cheek and chin, he can barely see out of the left eye. Several fingers are affected.  This is the face that makes children cry and hide behind their mothers.  Even a blind woman would know he is, well, truly hideous to look upon.

But you know what?  Two years ago I was recovering from surgery to rebuild my right leg after an “almost killed me” motorcycle wreck. I was on crutches and in a great deal of pain.  When I crutched my way up to the door of their shop, wondering how I was going to even open the door, guess who ran up to help? He held the door, and once I was inside, he walked back and picked up the brand of beer I buy – that’s about all I buy there, since their selection of groceries is pretty limited, and brought it up to the counter.  I looked at him for the  first time then- I admit I had averted my gaze – he’s that bad- and then I saw the person who was in there.  A kind, compassionate human being. Hidden behind a face even a mother would have trouble loving.  He then helped me get the beer into my backpack, after seeing me struggle with the crutches.  And held the door as I left.

So, I have a bunch of metal in my leg.  It hurts sometimes.  But babies smile at me. Strangers don’t cringe and look away. Ladies tell me I’m good looking.

Life could be MUCH worse.


(tip: do not buy bacon at a store run by Muslims, just saying)

  1. I don’t live by many rules but one that I do is “When one gets down on their own life they must put it into perspective and ponder the trials and tribulations of others who survived and thrived upon their miserable situation” My dad used to always say that he used to complain about his worn out shoes when he was a poor kid till he met a boy in his class without any feet. He told me that story once a month till I left for the Army at 18. Glad you made it back from your accident.

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