Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kevin, originally uploaded by P.S.Zollo.

Riding my bicycle along
Hollywood Boulevard today
I saw him in the crowd - noticed
him instantly. When we reached
each other, I said hi and asked
if he would mind if I took his
"You want my photo?"
Yeah, I said. There's nobody
like you.
"I know." And he smiled for me
-although his face was
evidently destroyed by something-
and his mouth reconstructed.

I asked him what happened.
"Shot," he said. "Shot in the
face." He motioned a gun
at close range being shot
directly into his face.

Andyou survived that? I asked.
"No," he said with a smile.
"I'm dead."
I apologized for what was
a stupid question, but it
was hard to fathom - gun shot-
close range - into his face. And
he lived.

So what happened? I asked.
Was it an accident, or did
someone mean to shoot you?

"I did it myself. Tried to kill

You did?



So tell me, how did it feel,
after you shot yourself in the
face - and you came to -
and realized you were not

"Agony. The worst agony


What kind of gun?

I was thunderstruck. I have
met and photographed many
people - who are featured in this
stream - humans who have
overcome amazing
adversity. Lydia, who was
burnt almost to death.
Ray, whose eye was gone.
Margaret, who weighed over
500 pounds.

But this. Man. And yet he
was smiling. I told him what
I thought:

God gives everyone a different
life - and some people get really
really hard lives.

"That's me. Doesn't get
much worse."

Told me he's on the street.

I asked him how bad it was
that he wanted to die.
"Bad. Really bad. The worse

Are you gonna try again?
"No. I tried once. That's enough."

Sometimes our lives
seem hard - unbearable even -
but then we meet Kevin.
Or Lydia. Or Ray. And realize
again how lucky we are.
How hard some humans
have it.

And yet
he smiled. He smiled
for me. This man with his
face blown off - by his own
hand. And here he is -
in the sunshine, listening
to music, smiling.

Don't even know what else
to say about this. Guess
I've already said it.

This is awesome