"Say cheese and condoms!" Gary says through his mischievous grin as I snap his photo. "See, by the time you say condoms they're already smiling."
Worked on me. Except I was the one behind the camera. "Is that your line or did you get that from someone?" I ask.
"That's mine. You know every once in a while a little freezer opens up in the brain and something leaks out. Sometimes it leaks onto the floor. This one I was able to catch and it stuck."
Gary, 66, is a jovial man with a kooky sense of humor. He is missing his right eye from a golfing accident (ball shot through his eyeglass lens into his eye). The accident seems to have left him with an uncanny Popeye expression when provoked. As he straightens the bric-a-brac at Surplus Sids where he works, he pauses to pose in a portfolio of positions: the cool guy, "The Thinker" by Rodin, the "I told you so" look.
"When you become my age you can get away with a lot of shit. The only reason I decided to get older was to be an eccentric curmudgeon," he says, matter-of-factly.
(photographs taken outside Sids Surplus on Main Street in Carrboro)