Jun 2, 2006

R.I.P. Naked Guy

During my Halcyon Days as an undergrad at Cal, I had been, from time to time, greeted by the glorious naked buttocks of a certain Andrew Martinez. Otherwise known as "The Naked Guy."

I know I'm a little late in the game with this info, but I just found out that Andrew died last week in a San Jose jail cell. Suicide.
On Wednesday night, a guard checked on him at 11 p.m. and he was fine, but a few minutes later other inmates reported hearing sounds coming from his cell. An officer returned at 11:19 and found Martinez unconscious. He was taken to Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead early Thursday.
Apparently Andrew had been struggling with mental illness his entire life, but in his lucid moments managed to inspire people to think about free speech while at the same time challenging social norms.

I don't walk around naked (in public), but I can't help but draw a parallel to what Andrew did and what We Who Write Blogs do - at times, our writing can make us so vulnerable to others, we may as well be naked. So I can't help but feel a oneness there. And I didn't know the guy personally, but we were undergrads together. Go Bears.

I gotta say, I'm sad to hear this news. A promising life ended too young.


Tom Hilton said...

That's really sad. He was a legend in Berkeley. Odd, but harmless...and in his own way (as you say) he did make us think about free speech and social conventions.

Polt said...

Since I've never left the East Coast, obviously I never met him. But I read about him, and saw photos of him (drool). I liked what he was doing, standing up for something.

Sad. really sad.

Jeff said...

Some quotes (not in order) from the news report:

"Everyone loved him. He was warm, positive, brilliant. He was a math whiz even though he barely studied."

Martinez was never preachy or hostile. He was good-natured, easygoing and upbeat, and didn't try to force his opinions 0n others, friends said.

Doctors were never able to give Martinez an exact diagnosis, and he struggled for years with his medication.

I remember him (vaguely) from news reports. What a shame that he could not get the treatment he needed and that his life ended so tragically.