Realtor Tom Torgerson was laughing so hard when he called me Thursday afternoon that I couldn't understand what he was saying at first. Something about a "banana hammock." Then I realized that Tom was on a boat a short distance off the North Shore, looking at an aging man – in a bright-orange G-string. Do you think it's Thong Man? Tom asked. If it is, he continued, he's grayer now. For newcomers, Thong Man created a ruckus in the mid-1990s when he flopped down on City Beach wearing nothing but the bare minimum to keep him from being carted off to jail for indecent exposure. Many thought he was indecent anyway. But not the City Council. On a vote in which nipples, areolas and all things pubic were discussed with straight faces, the council sided with Thong Man's freedom to let it almost all hang out. County Assessor Dan English, who voted with the majority as a member of that council, recalled the flap for Huckleberries Online: "I felt that out of all the things we needed to spend our limited police and court resources on, putting CDAPD on 'fanny' patrol wasn't the best use of resources. … Butt (sic) hey, maybe we woulda looked at a 'G-string' a little different than a thong." After winning the reprieve, Thong Man became a minor celebrity, occasionally posing for waterfront photos with University of Idaho students. I didn't know he was still around – about 100 yards east of the volleyball courts on NIC Beach when Tom spotted him. If Superman can return, I guess, Thong Man can, too.
D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.