Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays, by the way

Why is it that no matter how many days I go without shaving and no matter which of my fraying, threadbare pants I choose to wear, I still can't walk down Gay Street (that's an actual street here, not a euphemism) without getting a long, drawn-out story from a homeless person about exactly why they need money from me for a cup of coffee? And why is it always a story? If they'd just be direct, maybe they'd get something from me. If I had anything to give, of course. Which I don't. In case you hadn't heard, I spent the rest of my cash on the cover charge getting into the Clermont Lounge to see AARP-eligible strippers this weekend, so I've met my quota on charitable donations for the month.

Really, is it the way my eyes just radiate kindness and unfettered generosity, even as I squint into a 34-degree downtown headwind? Is that why I always get the story? As far as I could tell, the only thing that really differentiated my own unkempt disposition from that of today's story guy was that he smelled like he'd been rolling around in a dumpster full of half-smoked Kools, whereas I just smelled like a guy who hasn't showered for a few days.

I know, I know- It's not just me. That guy probably hit up every person in sight for spare change, but it seems like I can never get two blocks down Gay without hearing somebody's tale of woe. Which is fine, really. Everybody has to pay for their cigarettes somehow, even the homeless. Especially the homeless. But out of all the happy holiday shoppers with their freshly minted bags full of scented candles and other thoughtful and pointless economy-boosting Made in China bric-a-brac destined for gift bags and a spot under the Christmas tree before being consigned to someone's shelf somewhere to collect dust for several years until they are pushed aside in favor of newer, better smelling economy-boosting Made in China dust collectors, why would you peg the guy with the neckbeard carrying the giveaway backpack with "Arby's" stitched across it as your meal ticket?

Damn my kind eyes.

8 comments:

A Free Man said...

I get the same thing, no matter how dodgy I look. I think they can see a 'kindred spirit'.

Julie said...

That was a brilliant rant, Mickey. So detailed. It is inspiring.

I will offer up a theory: perhaps it is because bums assume laziness will win. You, walking down Gay Street with your empty hands, would have a much easier time reaching into your pocket to pull out some change than would a mindless, economy-boosting shopper. It's the path of least resistance, my friend.

Courtney said...

Those baby blues get you into (and probably out of) trouble all the time.

The Modern Gal said...

They figure you can commiserate with them. Try wearing your finest duds next time you stroll the Gay Street.

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

Maybe you just don't intimidate them?

JMS said...

Fantastic description of the gifts! I love it! Maybe it's not just your baby blues...maybe it's because of your neck beard and Arby's gimme backpack that you endear yourself to these homeless folks... They probably think that someone in their same situation might be more willing to give them something (up to and including a pack of smokes) because you're been there and know what they are going through? Who knows...maybe they just think you look like a tender-hearted sucker? :)

Allie said...

I'm a random people magnet too. Maybe it's like some sort of phermone or something we give off.

sid said...

"But out of all the happy holiday shoppers with their freshly minted bags full of scented candles and other thoughtful and pointless economy-boosting Made in China bric-a-brac destined for gift bags and a spot under the Christmas tree before being consigned to someone's shelf somewhere to collect dust for several years until they are pushed aside in favor of newer, better smelling economy-boosting Made in China dust collectors, why would you peg the guy with the neckbeard carrying the giveaway backpack with "Arby's" stitched across it as your meal ticket?" Longest sentence in the history of mankind. Well done my good sir, well done.