What's So Funny

Broadway bums beat the pants off of Colfax bums. Sometimes literally. The overlap in these derelict Venn diagrams usually occurs near where the streets intersect at Civic Center Park, much to the well-documented horror of Japanese tour groups. And the incidents generally go like this:

Colfax bum randomly encounters a Broadway bum near the statue of a horse standing on a red chair outside the Denver Central Library.

"Tiny horse or no," one bum says to the other. "There's no way a horse could climb on top of a chair that big."

"What in the hell did you just say about my tiny horse, compadre?" the other bum responds.

"I said your horse is too small and too lazy to ever climb up on a chair that high. And I ain't your compadre."

"Why, you son of a bitch," the other bum seethes. "That horse wasn't so lazy he couldn't carry me all the way here from St. Petersburg, Florida, with two Seminole arrows in his hindquarters and me deathly ill with whooping cough. He wasn't so lazy he couldn't save a sack of circus babies from drowning in the Great Ogallala Flood!"

"Maybe," the other bum says calmly, picking at a scab on his neck. "But that was all in the past. Now he's just a no-good, washed-up sack of guts that ought to be made into a glue stick. Just like you."

Suddenly, all bets are off, with frantic fists of fury flying through the air. Next thing you know, one of the bums has got the other bum's pants in his hands and is tearing away from the scene. And it's usually the Broadway bum who wins. Because you know what they say: It's not the size of the bum in the fight, it's the size of the crazy in the bum. And nobody be c-c-c-crazier than Broadway bums.

Don't get me wrong: The Colfax homeless are certainly a little off, but for the most part, they're just trying to get their hustle on, get some money for food, drugs, whatever. Broadway bums want the same things, but instead of saying "Hey, man, can you spare some change?" they usually shriek something like "How could they elect two squirrels to city council?!" before darting into oncoming traffic and getting nailed by a car going 45 mph, then running off totally unfazed, save for the blood leaking from their eyeballs.

While many people dismiss crazy as a viable life choice, I have always thought of the insane as truly more in tune with the ways of the world. Was it not van Gogh who painted the true, ethereal beauty of the stars? Was it not Willie Aames, aka Buddy Lembick, who best conveyed the idiocy of reality television with his sheer cockeyed barmyness on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club?

So I knew something was up when I walked to work this week and the smell of human urine left by the local homeless (an odor that daily greets me by the office door on Broadway) was stronger than usual. It had a more robust scent, a thicker and more pungent aroma. If urine were graded like milk, this would have been whole, as opposed to the skim to which I've grown accustomed. This curiosity plagued me all day until I finally heard a piece of news that brought it all together: Colorado is getting fatter. No wonder the urine smelled thicker!

In a study conducted by Trust for America's Health that ranked Mississippi as the state with the highest percentage of obese adults -- no shit, Sherlocks, their state bird is the deep-fried turkey -- Colorado ranked as the leanest state in the nation. But don't get all self-congratulatory, svelte citizens. This state's obesity rate -- now at 16.8 percent of the adult population in sweatpants -- has risen by 3 percent in the past few years, which means that 129,037 of you are fatter than before (according to rudimentary calculations). While I'm tempted to blame you hipsters who consider kickball and softball -- sports where you drink beer instead of water -- as a legitimate form of exercise, I'm not going to hang the satin cap of culpability solely on your shaggy heads. Or on you, either, lame bike gangs outside Paris on the Platte. Truth is, the entire state has gotten lazier. I remember a time when, every day at noon, Coloradans would line up elbow to elbow, from Burlington all the way to Grand Junction, for fifty push-ups -- just because.

So what now, chunky Colorado? You clean up your act, that's what. You eat smaller portions; you exercise more. You walk the three blocks to the office instead of driving. And if that's not shedding the weight for you, then try this on for size: Head down to the big, blue bear outside the convention center, find the first bum you see, and tell him that, big or not, that bear ain't near tall enough to see into the center. They say pants fights are great for the abs.


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