Guys I Went to School with – Zigmund Warren

Zigmund Warren arrived at Woodland Elementary in 1967. He transferred from another school and began to attend the third grade with me. His parents I found out moved him because of the enormous amount of teasing and bullying he was receiving. 

You might assume he was receiving the ridicule because of his strange first name but actually it was because of a disfiguring accident that happened to him in kindergarten. 

You see he had a horrible habit of sucking a glass to his face and then letting it hold itself in place. One Saturday morning while enthralled by an episode of Quick Draw McGraw, he sucked too hard and not thinking left the glass in place too long. It was stuck! Realizing he was in quite a predicament he tried in vain to remove the glass, but it was stuck firmly. He could push his cheek in with his finger and gasp a breath but the glass would not move.

Fearful of parental wrath, he hid his predicament from his parents till that night when his mother called him to the bathroom for his Saturday night bath. When his mother seen him, she began to scream for his father. Many Old Wives remedies where tired including soap, Vaseline and sewing machine oil. Nothing worked! Finally with disgust and concern his father tossed him the car and took him to Mc Laren Hospital’s emergency room. 

Doctors, Nurses, Orderlies and even Candy Stripers tried various scientific and home remedies to remove the glass, but nothing brought success. As hope was faltering and a hospital maintenance man went to retrieve a sledge hammer, an older Doctor decided to try a move that would later be known as the Heimlich maneuver.

Grasping poor Zigmund in his arms he pulled him close to his chest and then brought his fist into our hero’s chest. At last! After fourteen hours of confinement, the glass came loose, shot across the room, and shattered on the far wall.

A cry of joy could be heard as parents and hospital staff began to celebrate, until they turned to look at poor Sigmund and notice that he now had a snout. Wolfish in nature, his lips and chin extruded from his face in a glass shaped form.

After much discussion, his parents were assured that his face would, in time return to normal. With that and some kind words they were sent home. 

Over time though his face did not return to normal. He and his parents became reclusive and except on Halloween night when Zigmund could go about as the Wolf Man without anyone pointing a finger at him they hardly left the house.

Zigmund fit in with us at Woodland, after all we were all a bunch of misfit, mutant, blue collar children.

In May of 1974, Zigmund attended the Golden Earring concert at the IMA Auditorium and found what he thought was to be his calling in life. He dropped out of school and became a roadie for the group and then later worked as a bouncer at various L.A. dive bars.

His fifteen minutes of fame came in 1987 when after a Budweiser Executive was rescued from an altercation in the bar he worked in. The executive offered him a job as stunt double for the beer’s new mascot, Spuds MacKenzie. 

The Center for Science in the Public Interest and Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 1989 began to complain that Spuds was a bad influence. Budweiser decided to pull the mascot, leaving Zigmund unemployed and hooked on kibble.

Unable to hold a steady job, Zigmund bounced around d L.A. County, living under a bridge on the I-405 expressway. It is rumored that in 1993 he died from spontaneous combustion.

R.I.P. Zigmund (1959-1993)

Roy Richard January 2023

Copyright Roy Richard

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