On Saturday morning, an emergency call about squirrel abuse sent police to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. When the officers arrived, they found not the brutal torture of a park squirrel, but what you see above: a happy Ecuadorean man, toasting a guinea pig on a wooden pole beneath sun and sky, free and brave and square with all laws, civil and natural and otherwise. They found a hero cooking an early lunch.
When you were a kid, your science teacher explained that one of the cool things about a solar eclipse is that, with the blinding intensity of the sun blocked from view, you can observe the beautiful corona and solar prominences ordinarily obscured by its glare. With that in mind, hold your thumb over the sad li’l guinea pig on the left side of the photograph up there, and consider the other details.
The cooking end of the (spade-handle?) skewer, blackened by long exposure to heat. The sweat on our man’s brow. His smiling eyes. The fact that the police encountered him at around 9:30 in the morning. This is a man who knew exactly how he wanted to spend his sunny June Saturday: the same way I wanted to spend my sunny June Saturday! Grilling some damn food in the sunshine!
Now remove your thumb, and consider that the guinea pig, although an utterly common staple protein in many South American cultures, is neither indigenous Brooklyn wildlife nor the sort of thing you find in your typical corner convenience store’s refrigerator. Our man did not settle for guinea pig. Our man knew what he wanted! Our man probably waited all week for Saturday morning, when he’d have time to give his guinea pig the long, slow toasting it needed. Our man got up early and trekked down to the park with his prize and his skewer. Our man did not bother anybody. Our man minded his own business, which was cooking himself some damn lunch. Our man is the best of us.
The weirdness, here, comes from the city around him, whose hopelessly provincial locals would think nothing of a man cooking, say, a plucked and prepped whole chicken, or a giant cube of beef, on a big skewer over a Prospect Park grill, but will call the police if the shape of your lunch confuses them. Our man waded out among these dinguses in pursuit of happiness. May he live forever, and eat as he damn pleases.
Photo via Leslie Albrecht/Twitter
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