Spacemen

Some people are better at being weird than others. These four are the best.

This is a short celebration of the eccentric, or, in the modern vernacular, an appreciation of the spaceman. The Spaceman – a particular kind of peculiar. Let’s call him endearingly irregular. Endearing, at least, if he’s a good spaceman. Because there are good and bad spacemen.

A bad spaceman is one who tells you he ’II pick you up at the automotive garage since you ’re putting your car in the shop and need a ride and then two days later you get a call from him and he says he’s sorry he couldn’t pick you up but he decided to go on a mushroom picking expedition in East Texas and didn ’t think you’d mind because it was such a far out thing.

A good spaceman is one who entertains with his eccentricities, who educates with his oddities, and who amuses with his peculiarities. A good spaceman is seasoned; he’s still weird, but he’s a well-integrated free spirit. He transforms his spaciness into social and professional virtues.

On the following pages are four good spacemen. They ’re weird, they ’re irregular. They do what they want. They do it well. And they do it with charm. In fact, we think these are the four best spacemen in Dallas.

Jazz musician; renowned vibraphonist; leads the house band at Strictly Ta-Bu. Born in Greenville; 60 years old; a Taurus. Played vibes with Benny Goodman band. played the triangle with the Dallas Symphony. Played drums for Sonja Henie iceskating shows. “Play the only jazz in this year’s Kool Jazz Festival.” Was a fry cook at The Grape restaurant. Once catered a dinner for Herman Wouk. Admires Bach; gets bored listening to Bach. Was Paul Guerrero’s first drum teacher. Likes to eat lollipops, preferably just after a shower. Lives in Dallas because he has an ex-wife in each of the Virgin Islands. Is a self-described “indolent sloth.” Bathroom is very off-white. Drives a yel-low 1971 Chrysler station wagon.

Bartender; also owner of Joe Miller’s bar. pours stiffest drinks in Dallas. Tells worst jokes in Dallas. Refuses to mix Mai-Tais. Born Canadian; 45 years old; a Cancer. Admires Russ Tamblyn. Once met Harold Stassen; thinks he once met preston Smith. Likes to eat warm leftover brisket. Will not stand in lines. Plays golf. Drives a white 1973 Ford Galaxy 500. Occasionally wears bad pants. Does renowned Jack Benny imitation.

Artist and designer; founder of The Image Group art and design studio; president of Buffalo George Empire, Inc. Born in Parkland Hospital; 35 years old; a Sagittarian. Once shot himself with a homemade gun and hud to go to military school. Went to high school with Jim Mattox and Richard Speck. Once played bingo with Dorothy Ma/one. His dad knew Jimmy Hoffa. Once slept in his van at Love Field long-term parking. Has a cavity on left side upper. Drives a black 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV. Likes to eat Grape Nuts. His hand-made Wally Kanacki Last-Supper luau shirt (pictured) was made of 1946 material. Hates trust-fund hippies and poodles (“If I had two poodles I’d tape them on Weed Eaters and have dueling poodles”). Creator of the Golf Ball Breeder and Hobo Cookies (“The Cookie With The Bite Out Of It”). Enjoys cashing checks at World- Wide Liquors. Has not had a traffic ticket in five years.

Chili aficionado; founder of the Frank X. Tolbert’s Texas Chili Parlors. Is more proud of his Son-of-a-Bitch Stew than of his famous chili; puts cow brains in the stew. Former daily newspaper columnist; now weekly columnist; Texana expert. 67 years old; a Leo. Born in Amarillo in a dust storm; “grew up to know myself as a boy there.” An ex-Marine. Once took a college course in headline writing, in same class with Walter Cronkite and Lady Bird Johnson; made a D. Once met the Archbishop of Canter bury. Once cooked reindeer chili in Lapland. Likes to eat farkleberry cookies. Has written two novels. Bathroom has nineteeth-century Italian love-letter wallpaper. Can often be found sucking on limes and lemons; has to have his teeth capped.

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