When I 1st laid eyes on this man, he was standing in the rain holding a cardboard sign that read: "Eureka" ... How could you not stop for such a poignant sight? I couldn't help myself. I already had another hitchhiker with me, a skinny 21-year-old from Holland named Alfin who was gung ho about adding another member to the traveling drifter party coalescing in my VW bus. It wouldn't be long before Mike was telling us he was, at that very moment, tripping on heroin. We heard some of his story, then I got him to bust out a haunting blues tune on my guitar while my video camera captured the whole thing. Nearly 6 years later, I was passing through Eureka again and I tracked Mike down at this halfway house. He'd been sober less than a month, but he looked good. He'd replaced the front teeth that were missing when I met him on Day 93 during Barstool Bob's 100 Day Great American Barcrawl of '97. And he seemed relatively healthy. We had a nice visit and I snapped a few photos of Mike and his friends from the halfway house. It was Memorial Day, so I took him to the local cemetery to visit his mother's grave. When we got back to the halfway house, a middle-aged local recognized the great Mike Mars from his days as a Humboldt County rock star back in the '60s. Meanwhile, the cardboard sign Mike was holding on that October day in '97 hangs from a wall in my home office. Eureka.
Do I know you? One man's attempt at a lifelong head count.
NOTE: If you think I might have a photo of you—most likely at least one great photo of you—don't be afraid to ask me to post it (firstname.lastname@example.org) along with a brief entry about how I know you. And if I've met or known you but don't have any photo evidence, feel free to send along YOUR favorite photo of you. (I'm fascinated by what that slideshow might look like.)