Nineteen Hundred Seventy Seven was the beginning of a new and better life for me. I began a recovery program for alcohol abuse; I made friends that year that would be with me for half a lifetime. Some of them I have written about on these pages.
I formed business alliances with Hollywood directors, US Senators, and business people around the globe and I slowly began to see life in a different light. But of all these “happening” earthshaking, bigger than life humans who were coming into my life, perhaps the most important of these at that time was a man named Dave.
Five years before my first and only meeting with Dave, he weighed 175 pounds and stood exactly 72 inches tall. The day I met him he was 27 inches shorter. Diabetes had redesigned his body. He was now 45 inches tall and slightly overweight. He told me he weighed 155 pounds.
Business was slow that morning, which was unusual for this very popular do it yourself picture frame shop. It was April, the weather was wonderful and people were out and about. Someone would be in soon with an armload of pictures. I was at my desk looking out at Scottsdale Road when suddenly coming into view was this very short man with practically no legs at all walking along slowly but deliberately, his body rocking from left to right and back again, moving at a predictable gait with a predictable rhythm. And then he stopped. He removed the two plastic, one gallon milk bottles that were hanging from each side of his neck via a bungee like strap (we hadn’t yet learned to con people into buying bottled water) and placed them on the ground before him. His body did not require him to bend. The ground was as close to him as a dining room table would be to me. He slowly and methodically removed the lid from one of the bottles and raised it to his lips. When sated he placed his thumb over the lid and sprinkled some of the precious fluid on his head and face.