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Opening Arguments

The lush life

Everybody's got to have a hobby:

PORTAGE | Douglas E. Smith -- the man believed to be the most arrested person ever in Porter County -- was arrested again Thursday.

It was his 71st arrest.

Smith, 49, of 358-A Salt Creek Parkway, Valparaiso, was arrested on charges of public intoxication, resisting and intimidation.

[. . .]

Smith -- who calls himself "Otis the town drunk" -- said in an earlier interview that he has been arrested for public intoxication so many times that people he sees at taverns occasionally approach him and ask for his autograph. He has spent about half his adult life behind bars.

Smith told The Times he began drinking when he was about 18. Smith brags that he can drink two cases of beer in a day, or can gulp down six bottles of wine or three fifths of hard liquor. He said he has walked around with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.45, enough to put most people in a coma.

Prior to Thursday, Smith had gone 4 1/2 months without being arrested.

Half his adult life behind bars, from being drunk in public. He's way too proud of his reputation, and he sounds like a mean drunk, too; at least Otis was a good-natured lush. People who ask this guy for his autograph could probably benefit from a night in jail, too.