Saturday, August 21, 2021

Stephanos "the Crazy Man With the Small Ball" (+ August 19, 2021)


The "crazy man with the small ball", the beloved Stephanos, the trademark of Piraeus, has left this world. The area of Palia Kokkinia in Attica mourns his loss. We are informed that the unfortunate man was killed under unclear circumstances, as he was hit by a car on the street, where he was staying. Employees of a cafeteria took him to the Asklipieio Voulas Hospital, where his death was announced.

He had three children, one of whom has died. In recent years he lived at the junction of Thebes and Argyrokastro streets, in a dilapidated house, behind a small park, in which he had written various slogans of his own inspiration. He always used chalk so that he could write and erase easily. He usually wrote about God, nature and various sayings in general. Stephanos used to go to the cafe right across the street and while he never asked, when he was offered a treat, his face lit up. With a small radio he listened to folk music and smoked a cigarette.

In winter and summer he was dressed in short sleeves, shorts and sneakers with one or two socks depending on his mood. He walked around all day with a backpack and a tennis ball in his hand which he hit hard on the street pavement and that is why he was nicknamed "the crazy man with the small ball".


 
There were many stories that followed his personality, the most convincing being that he was a sailor and had traveled a lot. Later, he fell in love with a woman who betrayed him and since then his mind has not been very good, but no one has ever confirmed such a thing. He used to look at people intensely, as if studying them. It is said that once he saw a stranger on the street walking lost in his thoughts.

Stephanos approached him and hit the ground hard with the ball he always had in his hands in front of him, with him muttering something through his teeth. Then it is said that Stephanos looked him in the eyes and said: "Whatever torments you, you must confess. Only then will you become calm."

The man reportedly replied: "Maybe you are right, I never thought of that. Thank you." And then Stephanos said: "Not me, the One who will forgive you and you will be unburdened."


Even when he was walking, always with his backpack and the ball in his hand, he always shouted his thoughts. It was as if he was constantly talking and that is why they called him "crazy". If someone asked him how he managed to live without a job and without the support of any of his own people, he would just look up and do his cross.


He was the "crazy man with the small ball", the shouter that said loudly: "Good morning my God, Almighty. What a beautiful day you dawned! It rains redemptively. I want to dance in Your rain, to wash my soul and to whisper prayers to You. Prayers for everyone, but more so for those others; you know, those who say You do not exist. I laugh and weep together for them. Do not listen to them, they do not know. If they knew they would dance with me.

Let me be the one to speak and listen to me. I know You hear me. You always hear me. I dance to the rhythm of your rain and I listen carefully. I listen to the sorrows, the joys, the anxieties of the passers-by. They look at me and wonder. Truly, why such confusion? I dance and I talk to You; sometimes I whisper to You and sometimes I shout to You. But You are always here with me, You do not leave me. Please do not leave them, my brothers, You know. They do not know well about these things and are afraid. Have mercy on them and let Your will be done."

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos. 


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