PART - I
THE PERFORMER FORMERLY KNOWN AS OOFTY GOOFTY
Growing up, we all knew some nut from the old neighborhood who would do strange things for money. I knew a kid in grammar school who'd expose himself to girls...for chump change. He was a bright student probably wasn't "all-there" socially. Soon the girls realized that they could get their cheap thrills without paying. When he complained, they ridiculed him and ratted him out to his teacher. As we get older, we realize that exhibitionists come in many forms and appear all over the global stage.
Someone like, Evel Knievel made a career out of mesmerizing audiences by defying gravity and logic while breaking every bone in his body. Currently, the TV show "FEAR FACTOR" and movies like "JACKASS" also glamorize the highest levels of rash behavior. But I'm going to tell you about a knucklehead who puts them all to shame.
The History Channel's "WILD WEST TECH;" hosted by David Carradine, did a segment on San Francisco after the Gold Rush of 1849. During those crazy times, a man drifted into town to seek his fortune. While many late-comers missed out on the gold, others like this fellow found unconventional ways to capitalize on the abundance of loose money around town.way.
The unique way this man earned his daily bread by becoming a sideshow performer. Upon his success, this entertainer adopted the stage name, "Oofty-Goofty."
Oofty Goofty remained in San Francisco until the late nineteenth century. An author, Herbert Ashbury wrote about Goofty in his book, "BARBARY COAST, AN INFORMAL HISTORY OF THE SAN FRANCISCO UNDERWORLD."
Much of Goofty's early life is open to speculation, Herbert Ashbury believed his name was Joshua Marx, a deserter from the German army.
The nickname Oofty-Goofy was an offshoot from his act in which he billed himself as, "THE WILD MAN OF BORNEO.".During these performances, the "wild man" would continually roar, "Oofty goofty!" Hence the moniker was born.
|ANY ENTERPRISING PERSON CAN CONJURE UP A GIMMICK LIKE OOFTY-GOOFTY BUT ONLY A TRUE INNOVATIVE GENIUS CAN REINVENT HIMSELF AND THRIVE.|
Goofty switched, unsuccessfully to legitimate theater. After a less than stellar performance of, "ROMEO AND JULIET," he was actually thrown out of a bar. He hit the cobblestone street hard and discovered that he was impervious to pain.
Armed with this new attention-getting device and a baseball bat, he roamed the streets and propositioned random men to hit him for a fee. Among these fees were: kick him for a dime, hit him with a billiard cue for twenty-five cents or hit him was the baseball bat for a half dollar.
This craziness not only vaulted Goofty to celebrity status in San Francisco, but he made a tidy living too. That is until destiny, in the form of boxing legend John L. Sullivan, crossed his path.
Poor Goofty, Sullivan whacked him so hard with a cue stick that he broke two of his vertebrae. Goofty's bizarre career was over. He walked with a limp the rest of his life and died a short time later.
I bet you never had a jerk like that in your neighborhood. If you did, write in and tell us about it.
PART - II
MORE GLIB ThAN PROFOUND SCOOPS ESPN BY SEVEN MONTHS
This week, the Chicago Cubs were ousted from the National League playoffs. Afterwards, ESPN put together a piece identifying a hex put on them by a disgruntled fan, seventy years ago. This, "CURSE OF BILLY THE GOAT," prohibits the Cubbies from ever being world champions again.
However, if you remember in March of this year MORE GLIB ThAN PROFOUND beat ESPN to the story, (by about seven months). That's when I blogged my welcome to the new baseball season by discussing that same phenomena.
If you missed this journalistic gem or want to read it again, grab your reading glasses and go to the archives and find March 26th.
So for both stories I say, "BATTER UP!"