The friend explained that Thoreau had died 100 years ago. Then he went on somewhat to talk about Thoreau's philosophy. D'Amato was entranced. It was, Cus said, too bad that Thoreau was dead. He would have liked to have known him personally. "You probably would have become friends, Cus," the friend said. "Ah," Cus said, "you're just makin' fun of me."
But the chances are that if Thoreau were alive today, he and Cus would be friends indeed. Both would have at least one thing in common—an unusual approach to life. Cus bore this out recently while getting dressed for a fishing trip. As he sat on the edge of his bed, he carefully spread his trousers out on the floor. Then, with a joyous whoop, he quickly pulled both trouser legs toward him and in an instant was on his feet with his pants on. "I've always had a reason for doing that," Cus said. "You know when guys in boxin' come to me and try to put the bull on me, they say, 'Listen, D'Amato, you're no different from me. When you get dressed, you put your pants on one leg at a time.' And you know what I do when they say that? I laugh. I just have to laugh."