RIP Mr. Butch
I once semi-facetiously called Mr. Butch
the "moral compass and backbone" of Allston, and said he was the Big Bird of that kinda dingy and relatively racially diverse area of Boston
. He was generally a disarmingly nice and gentle bum, always polite in his requests for change and always willing to talk about whatever. Not that I ever really talked to him for any great length, but the few minutes of conversation I shared with him were far longer than any I've ever spent talking to any other homeless person. But so I'm as guilty as anybody of dehumanizing him, of seeing him as less of a person than as a weird outsized character that helped define Allston's amiable unseemliness. I don't know how bad I should feel about that, as Butch obviously liked the attention, and was implicit in his own dehumanization. And hell, he seemed to truly enjoy his life, anyway, so who am I to second-guess him. Still, it's sad that a guy who obviously had some severe problems was viewed primarily as entertainment by the college kids and hipsters that make up a good chunk of Allston's population.
Anyway, a few weeks ago he acquired a scooter, which pretty much everybody recognized as a horrible idea. This morning he was in an accident and died. Rest in peace, man. I hope Marty's keeps the "Mr. Butch's favorite" placard on the row with the High Life tallboys.
You can find mp3s and video clips of Mr. Butch here