City of Joyful Dread

I caught a fever, a holy fire

Month: October, 2016


I was checking out at Pep Boys and gave the cashier my phone number so he could look up my discount card.

Him: “Maurice?”

Me: “Uh, no.”

I gave him an alternate number, which worked.

Me: ” ….some people call me Maurice.”

Him: “Really?”

Me: “Uh, no, I, uh–not really.”

And I realized he was in fact young enough that I would need to explain the Steve Miller Band.


Full Employment

we wanted

we got
William Darity


Scenes from a Fluffya, September 2016


Crazy looking guy on Market Street to random passersby: “Do you speak Spanish?”

Me walking by: “No sé.”

Him yelling: “Al España!!” (or something like that)

“I cot my right hand because I had the mark of the beast!”
-Latino man missing his right hand, walking through City Hall shouting while waving his stump in the air.
(In other words, like the hungry freak in the 1968 classic (Dick Clark-produced) Psych-Out, he thought it was possessed, so he cut it off.)


South Philly coworker re: Dunkin Donuts coffee: “It tastes like dishwooder.”


Two Latinas talking to a gringa friend on 17th Street: “There’s a saying in Spanish, don’t try to shit above your asshole.”


Schizophrenic black woman walking down Market Street: “BLEH BLEH BLEH BLEH!”

White European male to other white European male: “Welcome to the US!”

(I think they were Dutch. In other words, descendants of the peoples who invented the word “apartheid,” encountering a traumatized person of color rendered completely incoherent, interpreting this accordingly as an American phenomenon. Hey, Johannes, it’s called een spiegel!)


A white-bearded man wearing a baseball cap that says JESUS is handing out pamphlets about JESUS on the corner of Broad and Walnut.

Me walking up to him: (eagerly) “Is it drugs?” (glancing down at his handful of pamphlets, with disappointment) “Oh–sorry.”


Tattooed Wawa cashier to really pregnant blonde: “Ay, almost showtime!! Your first, your second, or what -?!”


Most bizarre hustle ever: man sitting on Abbott’s crate on street corner, to random woman walking by: “Hey, my Pop just died this mornin’, Baby Girl!”


Bonus: awesome hip hop version of a BABY ON BOARD sign spotted in the Walmart Cherry Hill parking lot (see photo).