Paul the Liar
Paul (look alike)
The Man, The Myth, The Legend
Of course he's a liar. Obviously so, unless he happens to be over four hundred years old because no man with less years than that under his belt could have accomplished even half the things Paul claimed. A heart surgeon, a professionally trained chef, a horse trainer, a golf pro, a scuba diver, a pilot, a retired colonel from the special forces, an actor, rabbit breeder, bee keeper, a master boat-wright and a myriad of other professions did Paul claim to have mastered in his mere fifty-two years of life.
So was he a liar? Almost certainly but I put it to you like this, would you rather spend an evening drinking with an honest man who bored you to the verge of suicide or an interesting liar? Bender of the truth may he be, Paul's tall tales rarely failed to entertain and that's pretty much all I ask from a casual drinking companion.
Read I Cover the Waterfront
Read Max Miller's famous book about his own experiences as a reporter, covering San Diego's waterfront.
San Diego Dive Bars
Paul is another of the cast of characters I met at the local ship of lost souls, the Point Break dive bar. My nature is such that I prefer dens of iniquity like that one to the classier establishments because the denizens are always so much more vivid and amusing. Some might look down on such corners of society as sad or forlorn and there is certainly some truth to that. Bar flies rarely, if ever, have tales of happy families, flourishing marriages and successful careers to tell. No it is far more usual for these wastrels to be from failed marriages and have no jobs at all. After all, if you had a doting wife and a loving family waiting for you at home would you spend your days and nights with a motley gang of drunks?
A Day on the Waterfront
Well that's exactly where Paul chooses to spend his waking and sometimes sleeping hours. He sits there day after day and night upon night drinking and spinning his yarns. He isn't lazy. In fact, quite the contrary. He's constantly helping out around the bar busing tables and fixing broken furniture. He's a good laborer who works quickly and has a good skill set. In fact, many of the local handymen, including myself, have used him on several occasions and are generally happy with his work if not always happy with his working methods.
As an aside note, I feel I must mention that a very good friend of mine, Coop, did in fact meet a MUCH younger lady from the Philippines, married her and brought her here to the United States. They have been very happily married for years.
Coop & His Bride
A Philippine Bride
He had been married once, or so he says, with two daughters but, for some undisclosed reason, he no longer had contact with them. He had mentioned something about having a cocaine problem sometime in the distant past. It seemed like a sad topic so I never asked for the details.
At fifty-two he is looking to start another family, perhaps as a way of getting back what he had lost? It was a nice dream but that's all it was, a fantasy. He has a girlfriend in the Philippines, or as it Russia?At twenty-five she is less than half his age and quite capable of bearing him the children that he so desperately wants.
He often speaks of bringing her over and I play along, pretending to believe everything he tells me and why not? Where is the benefit in mocking another man's dreams? He shows me photos of her and tells me about their plans together. Ambitious stuff for a man without a job, a drivers license or a permanent place of residence.
Point Break might not have the world's best décor nor be the fanciest restaurant on Shelter Island, but it's food is probably the best. Large portions of delicious food that will keep you coming back time after time. Undoubtedly one of San Diego's best breakfast places, one of my favorite dishes is their Cuban sandwich. Drop by and try it for yourself.
Never To Be
I like working with Paul partly because he works quickly but mostly because he is like me in that he doesn't need to talk a lot. He just gets on with the job at hand and works at it until it is done. It isn't uncommon for me to pick him up, drive him to the job site and get through an entire morning while barely speaking a word to each other. I mostly work alone so working with a chatterbox can be very taxing on me.
Paul likes working for me because I pay him a lot more money than anyone else does, double or even more, in fact. At first I thought that the extravagant pay might actually help him to realize some of his dreams such as getting married again or at least securing a place to call home. But such thinking only highlights my own naiveness or was it just wishful thinking on my part? We all like to believe that we can make a real difference in someone's life, don't we? The ultimate, if somewhat gruesome example of this would be the murderer. After all, what bigger difference to someone's life could you make than to take it away from them?
So I believed or, more accurately, wanted to believe, that giving Paul such grandiose pay days was going to improve his life. I remember vividly his excitement when he told me about his plans to bring his lady friend across the water so that they could be together. Getting caught up in his excitement I asked how much it would cost and the answer surprised me. A paltry sum. Working for me Paul could earn that in just a few weeks.
And I also remember my own excitement when, just a few weeks later, I handed Paul the money. We had worked hard at a tree topping job and been paid handsomely for it. My expectation upon handing him the cash was that this would be a life changing sum for him. I patted him warmly on the shoulder and sent him forth to what I was sure would be a better life than that of a homeless barfly.
Several days later, when I saw him again, I asked him when I could expect to meet this girlfriend of his that I had heard so much about. He replied that it would be a while yet since he wanted her to finish cosmetology school first. I pretended to understand and commented that at least he now had the money saved up to bring her over when the time was right. Paul laughed and said that he was broke again after the long list of bars that he and his friends had closed out the night before. Then he asked me if he could borrow some money for some cigarettes.