homeless types (literally) – a throwback

needless to say my time as a career councilor didn’t last long…

04/12/2002: “the unwanted combo platter”

okay, so tonight i went and grabbed drinks with my “sister” kathi and a few of her friends, paying way more than ANY of us wanted to for the booze, and inhaling a bit more second hand than i wanted (all four of the women smoked, and at some points did so simultaneously). all good fun, all good company, and off they went for their ladies night out and i headed to the car. but got stopped on the way.

i’ve noticed that bums come in three types…(the term “bums” used not as a sign of disrespect; but it’s way shorter to type that than “homeless person” or “residentially impaired”) anyway, the three types of bum:

the sign bum:
found at off ramps and intersections, with sign in hand.
the handout bum: comes to you on the street; more face to face, and to most more frightening due to the proximity factor.
the “other” bum: clearly homeless, clearly disheveled, yet shuffles by you without asking for a damn thing. also known as the “indie” bum.

today, i saw the ultimate in laziness. a handout tried to do a handout-sign combo. i have worked in newsrooms. done radio. had tons of info cypher into my head from tons of places. so when this guy walked up to me and handed me a sheet of paper and said, “read this”, i started to. i got this far…

“i am homeless and hungree and out of worc. i need…”

i looked up and he already had his hand out. i said, “man, do you speak english?!?!?”

hand still out, he said, “well, yeah…but i just….”

“stop right there!!!!!” i said. “if you’re gonna go up to somebody face-to-face, don’t hand them something to read. TALK to them. if you’re gonna try and relate to their ‘human compassion’ you need to approach them as if you’re both human.”

he said, “so…you got anything for me?” i replied, “well, do you really HAVE a job, or is this begging shit what you do?” he said, “this is about it for me right now…”

“then i have something for you”, i said.

his eyes lit up as i reached for my pocket.

i pulled out a few singles, and my receipt for the $20 that place charged me for two double crown and cokes. i tore off the credit card part to where all he had was the liquor bill. i turned it over, pulled a pen out of my pocket, scribbled something on the scrap of paper, and handed it to him with one hand while i shoved ALL my money back in my pocket with the other. half puzzled, he looked down to see what i had scrawled on the paper. it read…

“career consultation: $150”

“what the fuck is this?!?!?!?”, he demanded. “an invoice,” i calmly replied. “this is what you do, and i just advised you on how to practically TRIPLE your income….that kinda service ain’t free. bills are due at the end of the month. find me around then and you can settle up.” and i walked off. he just stood their speechless. no “fuck you”. no nothing. just silence.

sometimes, not always, but sometimes, i even impress myself!

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