Local Hero

Not a day goes by without the appearance of Speedo Man. He is guardian of the park, steward of nature’s kingdom. His exposed body is a glorious demonstration of nature love. His skin is withered, leathery, but a deep and supple brown. He is simultaneously a testament to the dangers of sun exposure and its greatest champion. Nothing will stand in the way of his love of sunbathing.

He may not be there in the morning; sometimes he does not arrive until the late hours of the afternoon. Mother Nature does not hold him to a schedule. Speedo Man goes with the flow. He slinks into the recreation area like a disinterested cat. His shorts are silk and bedecked with love hearts; his T-shirt is tattered and features a panda. The panda is eating bamboo. The bamboo is clearly delicious. Speedo Man gently removes his trusty apparel; he unfolds a towel next to which he can place his belongings. He sits in lotus pose, closes his eyes, takes a breath, and begins to imbibe the sun.

The grass is Speedo Man’s domain, but the pool is his playground. This is not to suggest that Speedo Man will not share his environment. In fact, no one is a greater encourager of outdoor enjoyment. “Please, join me,” he will say pleasantly to visitors, who are looking at the cool water and his scant banana hammock with trepidation. “The water is refreshing and I will not bite.” Probably the visitors will squeal and GTFO. “Heh heh heh,” says Speedo Man, unperturbed. There will be other days for his fellow citizens to bask in the glow of the beautiful park. For now, he will savor the wide berth allotted to him by other swimmers. It is peaceful, being Speedo Man.

He is known throughout town for his practice of Qi Gong. “Cool! Martial Arts!” yell some excitable youths passing by. Others imitate his sweet moves from a distance, shyly stopping and looking elsewhere when he twists in their direction. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and to see his passion attempted by others makes him grin. Sometimes, if he is doing yoga, he smiles at small children during Breath of Fire and makes them cry. It is especially disconcerting when he is practicing Breath of Fire while contorted in Destroyer of the Universe Pose while opening his eyes really wide at the same time. Once a concerned parkgoer said hey dude, you should really stop hissing at people. Speedo Man just smiled and shook his head. He knows that his yoga and Qi Gong practices are an inspiration to those who witness them. Stoking the curiosity of his fellow man gives him a profound sense of satisfaction, and he is happy to take time out of his Zen state to expound on the merits of meditation, breath work and mind-body harmony.

We will hear more about Speedo Man in coming days. After all, he will always be found in the park, communing with the birds and the trees, looking deep inside himself to quiet the demons.

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