Monday, September 25, 2006

Maybe I'm Just the Outdoorsy Type

I like to think I would be more resourceful than the usual lot if I were a homeless person. I lived in a city long enough to see how they are treated by the general public, not very well. I think most people are fairly cynical when it comes to a homeless dude, not that we’re all evil heartless people who are completely unsympathetic to the plight of our fellow man, but pretty much everyone just assumes that they’re going to use your money for something rather unsavory (see: Crack) that you’d rather not be a part of. Not to mention that multiple times I’ve had food with me that I offered and had that turned down by someone. It’s hard to feel bad for someone who says they’re hungry and then turns down food. Beggars can’t be choosers, literally. So experiences like this lead to the majority of people to be not very trusting of anyone who asks for money on the street, which sucks because there are probably many people who are genuinely having a rough go of it and could use all the help they can get. That’s why you gotta have a gimmick. I would treat like I was an actor trying to make it Hollywood or something; have a stunt to grab people’s attention. One time I was walking in Georgetown, as I crossed a bridge there was a man leaning over the side of the bridge holding a pole like he was fishing. When someone walked by he swung the pole around and at the end was a big cardboard arrow hanging over a bucket that said “Gimme a dollar.” It was hilarious and guess what, I gave him a dollar for making me laugh. I hear there is a guy in New York who hangs a sign over his neck telling people they can cuss him out for a dollar. Now that’s the kind of ingenuity and imagination I’m talking about. I bet that guy makes more money than I do. You’ve got to have some pizzazz, a little added flavor, just getting in someone’s face tend to scare them and turns them off.

I think another important thing would be to never turn down any opportunities. I mean, when somebody offers you some food take the food. Then you also have to be aware of your surroundings. For example, a new 7-11 just opened a block from my office building (which by the way also seems to be a hotbed for homeless people in Baltimore). On opening day a person was outside handing out coupons for free sandwiches. If I was in the unfortunate situation of being homeless you better believe I’d have figured way to get my hands on about 40 of those coupons, I’d be eating like a king for weeks.

The reason I bring this all up is because of something that happened this morning that I found very strange. Brian and I were walking to our office this morning and there was a homeless guy a few feet in front of us. As I’m walking I look down a see ahead of me a sandwich all wrapped up in plastic wrap just sitting on the ground, someone must have dropped their lunch at some point. It actually looked pretty good and perfectly clean, hell I considered picking it up myself. So what did the guy do? HE WALKED RIGHT BY. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he didn’t see it but damn man, keep your eyes peeled. When you don’t know when your next meal is coming you may want to be on the lookout for sandwiches falling from the sky.


Mike said...

he was probably high on crack or drunk or something.

Kidding... but I agree with you. I don't need a whole song and dance, just a little effort.

JW said...

I was on a date in DC once, and this guy came up and put flowers in my hand. then he asked for money, I was like WTF! I don't want this crap, I'm not paying you, take your stuff back. That's kind of more annoyning than just asking, FORCING your gimmic on unsuspecting bystandards.

Los said...

I saw a show where they showed some of these "homeless" people who make a lot of money - some more than $50,000 a year begging.

iceguy said...

Remember when I said I was going to be more of a douche in my responses?

Well, um, there's a reason he's homeless.

Eric said...

Mike-actually i think a song and dance sounds like it would be fun, dont you

jw-did your date do this, or a homeless person, or were you dating a homeless person?

los-thats pretty nuts, i think i should take up panhandling as a side job to make some extra money

iceguy-mission accomplished, that was pretty douchy

JW said...

A homeless guy. Although dating a homeless guy isn't all that bad; they're really grateful even if you're a total bitch.

Brian said...

the bread on the sandwich looked really fresh

Eric said...

jw-but then you would have to pay for everything

brian-shocker you got bread boner, you would eat a shit sandwich if it were on good bread

Brian said...

when thinking of savvy homeless people i think of 2 different individuals:

the first guy who rapped about to the beat of Jay-Z... its a hard knock life, for me, i need some money for a, four-ty

the other was the freestyle poet we met on our way to chipotle last winter. i recall in his rap that he called you gay for wearing a scarf. i honestly had no cash other than a 20 and told him i would find him after lunch to give him a dollar but he was gone after we ate. i was pissed because i really wanted to give him a buck, he earned it.