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When I lived in Colorado, I once got my heart broken. The day after, or two days after, or a month later -- sometime amid the sulk -- I decided I needed a pair of Groucho Marx glasses. The classic schnozz-n-brow. They will improve my life, I thought. No one will recognize me.

I went to a Kiowa Street costume shop, but they didn't have Groucho's faux-fur and plastic visage. I checked the phonebook. I was ready to start calling around, checking novelty inventories, when I suddenly felt silly. I thought I had better things to do. Like sulk. Or drink.

Recently, I told my girlfriend Liz this story. She led me to a store just a block from her San Francisco apartment. Four years and 1500 miles later, me and my mended heart finally got the glasses. That first day, I wore them everywhere.

At around eleven, that first Groucho-masked night, I went out to move my Subaru. (Liz's street has nightly street cleaning and if you don't move your car before the streetsweepers come, you get a ticket. -- I've gotten several.) When I returned, there was a well-dressed man peeing in Liz's doorway.

Approaching, I yelled, "Stop pissing on my door!"

"Man, you look pretty stupid with that nose on," he said, looking over his shoulder.

"You look pretty stupid with your sausage out."

"Is this really your door?" He zipped his fly.

I called him names unbefitting the pages of a weekly newspaper.

"Listen, I'm sorry. Just the other day, some guy dumped in my driveway. There's a vent, for the dryer, coming from the garage, I guess he wanted to keep his ass warm."

"You have a house with a garage and a dryer -- in San Francisco -- and you're pissing in my doorway?"

When I got upstairs, I told Liz how I'd defended her house. She looked up from her pillow, and said, "That's nice. You are not wearing those glasses to bed."

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