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Onan The Vegetarian

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The photo that started it.  

Hoyt became fascinated with Jubb and his belief in breatharianism, the idea that it’s possible to live on nothing at all. From 1995 until October 2004, Jubb says, he subsisted almost entirely on one cup of herbal tea (with honey) per day. The rest of his nutritional needs were produced by “intestinal flora and friendly yeast”—plus his own urine, which he drinks two or three times a day. “It tastes a bit like seawater,” Jubb says of his drink, which he pronounces “you-Rhine,” like the river. “It can be a little foreign, but eventually it gets to the point where it’s quite enjoyable.”

Breatharianism was discredited as a hoax in the eighties, after the leader of the Breatharian Institute of America, Wiley Brooks, was discovered gobbling chicken potpies when he thought nobody was looking. Brooks blamed air pollution for the slipup. Although Hoyt himself hasn’t tried breatharianism, he believes it’s possible under the right circumstances. “If we lived in a 100 percent pure, natural, perfect Earth, we probably wouldn’t need to eat,” he says. “Especially if you’re living on a mountaintop in Maui, with good sunshine, breathing in ocean salts and nutrients.”

I’ve met women who enjoy it. I had a woman tell me, “you know, that sounds exciting to me.”

Jubb also taught Hoyt about raw foods, a fad popularized in the early sixties by Ann Wigmore, a Lithuanian immigrant to Boston. Widely credited with promoting wheatgrass juice and alfalfa sprouts, Wigmore also talked a lot about what you can’t eat. Milk, meat, eggs, and cheese are off-limits for raw-foodists; so are bread, soy milk, and tofu. Some raw-foodies, including Jubb, also condemn the “runaway sugars and strange, undigestible proteins” in corn, oats, beets, bananas, and carrots, which leaves little more than a handful of vegetables, fruits, and nuts—and none of those can be heated over 118 degrees Fahrenheit, because that would allegedly destroy key enzymes. “Enzymes are our life force,” Hoyt explains. “They do all the work to keep our bodies young, happy, alive, and vibrant.”

Hoyt tells me of pictures taken with Kirlian photography, a technique used to measure auras. “An organic raw vegetable has a huge rainbowlike aura,” he says. “A cooked organic has less. And a cooked, factory-farmed vegetable has almost no rainbow at all.”

Hoyt grew up plagued by severe dyslexia. “I’m an incredibly bright person, but I was always put down and put aside,” he says. “In college people would turn around to me and ask me questions. I would explain things to the other kids, but then we’d take a test and they would get an A and I would get a D.” Later, he dropped out of an Ohio technical college. “If I stayed there,” he says, “I would have wound up fixing TVs.”

Originally, Hoyt’s plan was to be a rock star. After arriving in New York in 1988, he played around the East Village with an industrial synth band called Lysdexic (a nod to his disability), then made a demo tape that never got picked up by a label. “What Korn is doing now, I was doing in 1988,” he says. “If I had just stuck with it, I could have been Nine Inch Nails or Linkin Park.”

Hoyt explains that he has dealt with his various disappointments by throwing himself into fast and dangerous sports. He has screamed across motocross courses, bombed down ski slopes. “Then I moved to New York,” he says, “and everything just kind of stopped.”

Without skiing or bike racing as an outlet, he took to exposing himself in public. He is very matter-of-fact about it. “It’s the possibility of being caught or discovered, the thrill of doing something crazy,” Hoyt says, comparing the feeling to one he had many years ago, when he was skiing Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon and abruptly veered from the trail, flying off a 40-foot cliff for no reason. “I’ve raced motorcycles, raced bicycles, skied competitively. I’ve hit trees at 60 miles an hour. Been run over by a motorcycle. I’ve broken arms, broken my leg, tore cartilage in my knee.”

Since 1994, when he was arrested for a lewd display on the 8th Street N/R platform, his thrill-seeking hadn’t gotten him into trouble with the law again—until recently. Hoyt says he doesn’t make a habit of touching himself on the subway, but he occasionally reveals his penis in other settings. “There have been situations in a bar or nightclub where you’re fooling around with somebody and yeah, you’re exposed. It’s nothing really accessible. Just sort of hidden, but risky. If someone looked closely, they could see what’s going on.”

Some people are offended. “Everybody has their limitations,” Hoyt says. “For some people, it’s very, very wrong. Everybody has things to hide—things they don’t tell their best friend. I’ve seen Websites with scat and stuff and I think, What? Who would possibly be excited about that? But there are people who probably look at me and say, ‘How could that possibly be exciting in any way?’ ” As for his R-train exploits, Hoyt says, “I’ve met women who enjoy it. After this incident happened, I had a woman tell me, ‘You know, that sounds exciting to me.’ She wouldn’t mind being on the other end.”


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