Tuesday, June 24, 2003

A sad ending to a strange story in today's local paper.
A man who briefly became a local celebrity here in San Antonio for his odd beharior of riding a bicycle around town wearing nothing but a pair of thong underwear was found dead at the bottom of a canyon at Big Bend National Park over the weekend. It appears to have been a suicide, but authorities are still investigating.
Now with perfect 20/20 hindsight, it is apparent that "Thong Man," as he became known, was in need of some help. But at the time it was just an annoyance to keep seeing this 52-year-old man's naked butt in the paper and on the local news every evening.
I can't blame the local paper for doing the initial story on May 5th. It was an obvious story complete with angry neighbors complaining to authorities and legal experts determining that the man was adequately covered by law. But then the story just wouldn't go away as people yakked on and on about it in the letters section and on the local talk radio stations. Pretty soon a local radio station made "Thong Man" the grand marshall in a thong parade as part of a publicity stunt and that led to another round of stories and more TV news updates.
Then last week things seemed to take a turn for the worse when the man started riding his bike without even a thong and ended up in jail for disturbing the peace. Was this a final cry of desperation or just another effort to extend his 15-minutes of fame. Whatever it was that he wanted - attention or psychological help - he obviously was not getting enough of it.
He is back on the front page of the paper again today, possibly for the final time unless the authorites determine that foul play was involved in his death. That appears unlikely at this time.

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