06 September 2009

God Bless America

I drive by this house every day on my way to work:

Click to embiggen
The photo (snapped from my car window) doesn't do it justice.  Yes, the house is painted red, white and blue like the flag.  There are at least a dozen flags out front.  You can't tell, but the door is blue with white stars and has "God Bless America" hand-painted on it. There are placards with patriotic slogans stenciled on them strewn across the lawn and porch.  The owner frequently adds more flags or bunting, as the mood strikes him, and in nice weather there is often a huge American flag draped across the roof.  It's quite a sight and everybody at the hospital knows "that flag house."

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the owner.

It was a truly memorable encounter.  He was in the ER with his wife, an amiable lady with a truly startling number of facial piercings.  (And it takes a lot to startle me.)  He was perhaps in his late forties, of indeterminate ethnicity, but I might guess Samoan.  The most striking thing about his appearance was the American flag tattooed on his face like this:


Actually, most of his body was covered in tattoos of one variety or another, but beyond the American flag on his face, you tended not to notice them so much.  His hair was long and frizzled and would have been quite an afro had it not been gathered into a topknot on top of his head like one of those troll dolls.  He had (I swear I am not making this up) a bone through his nose -- a long slender gracefully curved bone about seven inches long, transversely piercing his nasal septum.  Among other less remarkable piercings, of course.  He began and ended every sentence with "God Bless America," as in:
God Bless America, doctor, I'm really concerned about my wife because she's been getting these dizzy spells a lot more this week, God Bless America.
And he was one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting in ten-plus years of working the ER.  Pleasant, respectful to a fault, genuinely grateful for any attention or kindness he or his wife received.   This aspect of his personality was thrown into such stark relief by his appearance, which screamed "mentally ill scary freak" but nothing could have been further from the truth (the scary bit anyway; I can't vouch for his sanity).  We spent a fair bit of time working through their issues and came to a happy disposition, and I was quite honestly sorry to see them leave.

People are so wonderful -- wonderfully strange in some cases -- and I am so happy that I am in a job where I get to interact with them every day.

God Bless America.


  1. Too bad he's never heard of the Flag Code. I do contend, though, that we have a pretty flag, and I hang the one from dad's coffin about 4 times a year--if I think about it.

  2. I'm hoping to someday have enough money to graduate to being called eccentric.

    As I would constantly tell my little one, while little, Weird. Weird is good. To paraphrase the Gordon Gecko line. In other words, don't worry about fitting in with any of the social groups in school. My, now adult, child is much better socially adapted than I am. I think that is a part of the reason.

  3. bingo- you live in Seattle. Did I just 'out' you?

  4. bingo- you live in Seattle. Did I just 'out' you?

    No. You did not out Shadowfax.

  5. Um, yeah, I was in the freaking New York Times under my own name, so I'm kinda out already.

    Though just for the record, I do keep the name of my hospital and my name off the blog.

  6. I've been doing CPS social worker for 22 years and still enjoy the process of meeting different and fascinating people in the midst of all the other messes I encounter. And while folk in Seattle have a history of not wanting Californians moving there, we a bit further north just want Seattle not moving here!

  7. That's why I love the ER, too.

  8. I'm totally late to this party, having gotten behind on my Google reader, but I was amused to see this post! I live in the area, and drive past this house all the time. The local paper actually had a great article on the homeowner (hope it isn't a violation of his privacy to post the link here): http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20080704/NEWS01/969415335


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