Everyone Deserves Their 15 Minutes of Fame

As readers of some of my previous posts know, I have a habit of trying to never pass a StreetWise vendor in downtown Chicago, without putting at least a buck in their hand, particularly if I already have bought a magazine for that week.  (For those who don’t know, StreetWise (http://www.streetwise.org) is a weekly magazine that is sold by the poor and homeless in Chicago to generate some income).

There is a middle-aged black man who sells StreetWise near the train station in the afternoon that I pass by on the way to the train that takes me home. I occasionally buy a magazine from him, if I haven’t purchased one from another vendor downtown that week. But, I always give him at least a buck, when I pass by him.

One day, I’m running to the train, and shove a dollar bill in his hand. He grabs me and yells, “Read this!” I was startled, to say the least, and just stood their dumbfounded and looked at him. He yells again, “No, I want you to read this!”

With that, he holds the magazine up to my face, and unfolds it to the back page. And, to my astonishment (and amusement), there he is, staring out of the last page of the magazine! It was his profile! And, he was so proud of it. He holds it up to his face, so that I can see that it is him, with his somewhat toothless grin. I burst out laughing and pulled another buck out of my wallet (the magazine is $2), took the magazine, slapped him on the back, called him by his name (his name is Standard), and scurried off to the train.

Everyone deserves their 15 minutes of fame. Even my new friend, Standard!

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