It was bound to happen sooner or later — a “Florida Man” story featuring someone I’ve actually met!
But first, the story: Jonathan Crenshaw, a man with no arms and who weighs 90 pounds (41 kilograms), is a homeless man who makes a living painting on canvas by holding paintbrushes with his toes. He paints in front of spectators as a sort of street performance at Miami’s Lincoln Road Mall, an outdoor shopping mall on a pedestrians-only street just north of South Beach. I saw him hard at work on a painting when I visited last year, and threw a fiver into his donations can.
I’ll let the Miami Herald tell the most recent story about Crenshaw:
But on Tuesday, just after midnight, Miami Beach police say that Crenshaw stabbed one of those tourists. Crenshaw, police say, used a pair of scissors he clutched with his feet to stab Cesar Coronado, 22, who was visiting Miami Beach from Chicago.
According to the arrest report, Crenshaw said he was lying down when Coronado approached him and punched him in the head. He stabbed Coronado twice, put the scissors back into his waistband, and quickly walked off, police say.
Miami Beach officers found the victim lying on the ground, bleeding from his left arm. Paramedics took Coronado to Mount Sinai Medical Center.
If you want to know more about Crenshaw, Miami New Times — one of the best sources for oddball Florida news — wrote a profile about him back in 2011.
I’m not going to attempt to determine whose story is more in line with the truth — the homeless man with the long rap sheet, who says he was attacked by a couple of young troublemakers who thought he’d be an easy mark, or the young tourists who say they were just asking for directions when the crazy transient attacked them.
What I will remark on is the fact that a scrawny, armless man almost 50 years of age who sleeps on the street got the upper hand on a millennial half his age and infinitely more arms (mathematically speaking, 2 arms is infinitely more than 0).
It leads me to conclude that this isn’t really a “Florida Man” story, but a story about one or more of the following:
- The power of the element of surprise, or
- That old age and treachery will beat youth and exuberance every time, or
- How Gen X kicks the Millennial generation’s sorry participation-trophy-clutching ass every time.
As a gentleman of a certain age, the final interpretation’s my favorite.