Monday, April 7, 2008

Healing Bullet Wounds

I worked behind the supplements counter at Community Pharmacy on State and Gorham intermittently from 1991-2003.

Like many State St. businesses, the pharmacy could expect a Kramer-style sudden appearance of Coz at any time (and often synchronistic times, like when the store was jammed with senior summer scholars).

On days when he was happy, we were treated to fashion shows. I vividly remember the red leather Michael Jackson jacket (replete with zippers all over). He even wore it during Maxwell St., the sweatiest time of year. I also recall a full suede cowboy ensemble that hugged his scarecrow frame. Coz even rode his bike right into the store on several occasions.

My colleagues at the pharmacy loved Coz, but he was especially attached to the worker known as "Mom." I hope she submits her stories! You knew Coz trusted you if he called you "Punkin," but when he called me "Baby," it was like a small victory. In fact, Coz loved babies, and seemed to worship women who might bear them. He is the only person who could get away with (repeatedly) asking me if I was pregnant during a baggy clothes phase.

I never learned the source of Coz's afflictions, but the pharmacy staff catered to his metaphoric complaints about having gotten "bullet holes" by offering Tums or a homemade, all-purpose salve. Often "Mom" dipped into her own vitamin supply to help Coz up his immunity. The kindness paid to Cosmo even when he might have scared off a few potential customers (merely the uninitiated) made me proud to work in such a compassionate environment.

There were times I felt afraid around Coz, not of what he might do to others but what psychic pain he seemed to be experiencing. He wanted to be heard, he felt things so passionately and was not well understood. I wanted to understand him, but it wasn't always possible. But I think Coz could tell who was humoring him and who was really trying to listen.

Love to all who recognized the gems inside Coz's wild exterior.

Bazile Booth,

No comments: