As regular readers of the blog know, Wes and I come from Wichita. We owned a business a couple of blocks away from the baseball stadium. If you've ever been to Wichita, I hope that you didn't go to this area. Anyway, at our business we had access to all kinds of crazy people, they liked to sleep in this fenced off area by our trash cans. We knew this dude named Wayne who would come in and we would pepper him with questions about the bar down the street where he spent ALL day Every day under the guise of him working there, but really all he did was wipe down a table now and again or move things around. Every once in a while Wayne wouldn't come around for a month or so and then he'd show up, we'd ask where he'd been and he'd say "jail". Wayne, it seems, had a real problem with punching police officers, which isn't too funny except he weighed maybe 100 pounds and had the coordination of a 3 year old. There was also this guy, Chuck. Chuck could best be described as an a**hole. He was a know-it-all bum, he'd always tell us how we did things wrong. Yet, one time when we were planting some flowers outside of the business we were laying down some mulch and he had never seen such a thing. "They sell this stuff at the store?" Hilarious. Chuck also told me he could run a 9.4 second 100 yard dash when he was younger. All of this is to say, I know crazy, and the craziest dude around was Crazy Mike.
Crazy Mike walks or rides his bike all around town. He can be spotted by his huge glasses (I remember him regularly wearing 2 pairs of glasses at the same time) and ever present headphones. Crazy Mike is a legend in Wichita. Everyone knows him. I don't think there's a KC equivalent to Crazy Mike. And I'm pretty positive there isn't a KC equivalent to actually seeing Crazy Mike. It's an occasion to stop and just watch as he does a quick walk-through of the store, bar or restaurant and leave. It's just a great site to see. Sometimes he's stopped, mostly by young ladies, so people can get their picture taken with him. Shea at A California Girl in Kansas has a great writeup on the ultra rare Crazy Mike sighting; Crazy Mike sitting and eating at an IHOP. Shea also has a picture and a video up on her site just click the link. Crazy Mike is so famous he's even on the Wichita Wikipedia site under notable residents, right under Kirstie Alley (I'm not sure if it's sorted by craziness or not but that would be about right).
I used to hang out in Wichita at this bar called Mort's. Mort's is my standard when I talk about a martini bar. I have a Mort's martini menu in my bar at home and I like to try to make the martinis listed (something like over 100). Some of the martinis are good, such as the Kentucky martini (in my concoction it's equal parts Maker's Mark and Amaretto) and some are gross suck as the pickletini (which incorporates pickle juice into a standard martini). Wes ordered one of those once and I threw up in my mouth. Also, at Mort's they have free popcorn (one side of the popcorn machine has jalapeno salted popcorn which is extra yummy) to munch on while you watch the band or talk to the ladies. Mort's, in my experience, is also the best place to get a Crazy Mike sighting. Think of Mort's like a Chipotle with 2 doors, one into the restaurant and the other leads out to the deck. Only at Mort's there's a gated exit/entrance on the deck. If there wasn't a band, my friends and I liked to sit at the table closest to the entrance door (by the popcorn machine) so we could watch all of Mike's journey into, through and out the other door, through the deck and back out the gate. Good times.
Go to Wichita, go to Mort's and hope that you'll be one of the lucky ones to see Crazy Mike. Shea, thanks for the great post, it really brought back some great memories.