May 10, 2005
Still bouncing from his leap of faith, Robert Disbrow obviously bears no shame. While at a red light at Main Street and Stapley Drive in Mesa, I watched Disbrow flash both middle fingers toward general traffic.
Along with wielding a wooden crucifix, the salute joins creative body formations that make up this jester’s well-known daily dance.
He has paraded along Main Street for years, often donning shorts shaped into a makeshift swaddle cloth with the trademark fit of tighty-whiteys.
His middle fingers finally kicked my curiosity into overdrive. After five years of shaking my head at his antics, I approached Disbrow to shake his hand.
This retired Army veteran is friendly, harmless and high as a kite on Jesus. Disbrow’s turbo-charged faith inspires his attire and dance moves (the latter receive help from headphones). With vocal volume cranked to 11, he proudly booms praise after almighty praise to his savior.
Disbrow shouts a "God bless you" — and waves with all his fingers — to honks from passing cars. Sometimes people offer money. Sometimes they throw things at him in derision, he said.
"They’re looking at the flesh," said Disbrow, 51. "They’re not looking at the spirit and the heart."
As for the middle finger he so freely flies, Disbrow shuns its manmade meaning ("it’s God’s finger") and enjoys freaking people out "because I can. I need to wake people up."
After Disbrow was struck by a truck while riding a bicycle in 1990, the streets became his ministry.
"I am in church right now," he said, pointing to the concrete below. "This is where God wants me. When you leave, the headset goes on," he said, "and I’m back dancing for the Lord."