(Originally appeared in Mutant Renegade Zine #8, Spring 1998)
Since I moved to Dayton I’ve had more of a chance to explore and learn it’s hidden secrets. I’ve come to find that Dayotn is really and interesting city. The buildings, the entertainment, the people have so many stories to tell. Hence this new edtion to Mutant Renegade Zine.
In this first ever Strange and Exotic Dayton I will be talking to Dave Koozie, who has put an interesting new spin on bumming for money on the streets. I first met up with Dave when I saw him engaging in his “trade” behind an abandoned building on the corner of 9th Street and Gratchit Ave.
MRZ – Why don’t you begin by telling me a little about yourself.
DK – Well I’m 27 years old. I grew up on the more affluent side of Dayton. I tried the college and the “job” thing out for a while, but it just wasn’t for me. I enjoy the freedom of the streets. I’m my own boss and the rent is cheap.
MRZ – How do you survive? Where do you get your money?
DK – I let people punch me.
MRZ – What do you mean “you let people punch you?”
DK – I let people punch me for money. Five bucks, one punch.
MRZ – Where did you get the idea to let people punch you for money?
DK – I don’t know. I think part of it comes from when I was a kid and bully’s would beat me up and take my lunch money. The typical cliché. When I was in middle school the bully’s found it harder to intimidate people, and therefore started losing their sense of self. I still remember all the money I lost in elementary school, so I devised a plan to get it back. I let them punch me for a buck. I ended up getting all my money back and then some. I also was a big fan of the Rocky movies. Rocky gets the shit kicked out of him every movie, but as with any boxer, he gets paid for it.
MRZ – Did you ever consider becoming a boxer?
DK – Not really, I’m a pacifist at heart. Hitting someone is easy. Taking the punches, now that’s zamzoo.
MRZ – Zamzoo?
DK – It’s Yiddish.
MRZ – Oh, Did your parents ever beat you as a child?
DK – No. In fact my parents were very loving. Maybe that’s another reason why I do it. I had a great childhood, as far as my family is concerned. Maybe me getting punched by strangers is a way I can try to capture the experience of a screwed up childhood that so many people seem to have had.
MRZ – Do you have any injuries as a result of the punching?
DK – Probably nothing more than what a typical factory worker might have. I’m a little sore here and there, but I’m my own boss and if I don’t feel like being punched on a particular day, then I don’t do it.
MRZ – Yeah, but there has to be some pain involved?
DK – Most of the punches I receive are to the stomach.
MRZ – Not the face?
DK – I know it’s strange. People just seem to have this fascination with the gut. Anyway, as you can see, I’m a hairy fellow. I look like a gorilla with my shirt off. The hair on the gut helps to absorb the blows, therefore the pain is minimized.
MRZ – Do you have any regular customers?
DK – Yes. I think I’m sort of a therapist for the working class. If they have a bad day or get pissed off at their spouse, they come give me a punch as an outlet for their aggression. And where else could someone receive therapy like that for 5 bucks?
MRZ – Do you have any ‘rules’ when people give you money to punch you?
DK – No accessories like brass knuckles, bats, that kind of stuff. Also no nut shots.
MRZ – Have you ever been seriously injured?
DK – Once a bunch of drunken college students started giving me a punch one by one, but then they just threw a wad of bills at me and started to whoop my ass. They ended up taking all the money they gave me and more.
MRZ – Did you call the police?
DK – What am I going to say? “Yeah officer I told them they could beat me up and then they didn’t pay me.” Hell I would have got two ass whoopin’s without receiving compensation. What a stupid question.
MRZ – Do you do anything else besides just getting punched?
DK – Like I told you, the 9 to 5 thing just doesn’t work for me. I make a good living at what I do. I guess when my getting punched gig has gone as far as I can take it, I’ll have to move on. But society is increasingly violent. My services are needed. Road rage, down sizing, losing sports bets. I’m the outlet, the solution to societies woes. I don’t need to do anything else. Unlike you I’m needed.
MRZ – Yeah, okay. Thanks Dave for talking with me, and good luck on your future.
DK – Thanks.
MRZ – Here’s 5 bucks.
DK – Oomph!!
MRZ – Asshole.