Most people remember him as "Epic Beard Guy" or "Vietnam Tom". I personally enjoy "Tom Slick," as this is also how he likes to refer to himself. As I sat on the bench next to these guys and snuck in a few pics, I was actually pretty intrigued by the stories he was telling. One of the best quotes was: "You don't give whiskey to a homeless man. Shit. You want him to go crazy and fight somebody?" Even so, it became apparent that Tom knew one of the kids and was recounting stories of him growing up, to which the kid actually corroborated. Pretty neat.
Knowing that Tom can get a little crazy, I made sure to take in my celebrity shock from a good viewing distance. I mean, the guy was made famous in a video beating the piss out of a guy who taunted him on an AC Transit bus. A hero to many, but a bit 'off' nonetheless. I don't know about you, but a 67 year old man who wears a shirt like this is not the kinda guy you wanna mess with.
Having taken it all in and watching Tom disappear into the distance, walking with the gait and size of a linebacker behind St. Peter and Paul Church, I rode the rest of the way home with a little bit of a smirk on my face, gently pedaling and enjoying the undulations of Russian Hill and the final ascent up Corbett to Clayton, all the while wondering who else could be in and around The City at any given moment - just waiting to be found.