They come in all shapes and sizes. They are in just about every city no matter how small, large, stable, etc the city is. I sometimes feel bad for them but at the same time I just can’t stand them.
There’s one gentlemen in particular who hangs out in front of the same Dunkin Donuts every morning–who always puts the same pathetic face on and acts like he’s cold. I know it sounds heartless– but its an act. His acting cold move is actually just him having the crack scratches. He mumbles nonsense to himself all day and sometimes to you as you walk by. I know its an act because people constantly buy him a coffee to ‘warm’ him up. As soon as they are out of sight he just dumps the coffee into the sewer and puts on his whole song and dance some more. Bums rely on change, not coffee apparently. I know people who bought the same guy boots, winter pants, and a warm jacket only to find out 2 days later he was back to wearing the same crap he always wears and sold that shit. You just can’t shine shit sometimes.
About 2 months ago a gentlemen accosted me on the street with this whole spiel about how he was a contractor from 30 minutes south of Atlantic City and he was installing doors or something in the city and his truck got impounded and he is a good guy and hes not on drugs and I can call the people he just installed doors for and this and that and this and so on and oh my god at least talk like you use commas please please please holy shit. I have a drug addict in my family– I know a bullshit story when I hear one. And I know how damn convincing one can be when they want something.
I genuinely felt bad for this dude. At the time I could relate, working an unpaid internship and having no money for myself to get out of a bind. When the whole 5-minute sales pitch ended in ‘I need money for a bus to Jersey can you help me out?’, is when I finally had a chance to digest his whole story and think of my rebuttal. I knew what was coming all along but the guy wouldn’t give me a chance to be like ‘umm I don’t even have money for lunch for myself today soooo good luck with your problems’. So after I explained my position and told him I couldn’t help and he really could have just saved himself 5 minutes, he hastily thanked me for listening and we parted ways.
So today I meet up with my roommate for a lunch time beverage on this slow, blizzardy day in Philadelphia. On my way back, I get accosted by a guy who I feel like I met before. You guessed it, the contractor! This time he had the same story about being near Atlantic City, his truck is impounded, he owns XYZ Construction and his phone number is blah blah and he was installing something and the assholes towed his truck and hes a good guy and I’ll give you $500 for a ride to Jersey and if not I need money for the bus I’m a good guy I’ll take your info I’ll give you the jacket off my back to hold I’ll give you $500 for your troubles you can call this person that person they’ll vouch for me etc etc etc holy fuck slow your roll. This time he also had a naaasty herpes sore on his lip and what looked like a lesion on his forehead reminiscent of Tom Hanks in Philadelphia. I asked him about the last time he approached me with the same story and if he ever made it home last time. The guy got offended and was like I never come to Philly I just had work etc. I’m like OK guy if you are such a good guy then you would have changed up your sales pitch from the last time because if I did at least somewhat buy into it last time then I definitely don’t now. End of conversation.
I don’t know what his deal was. Maybe he was telling the truth but in this case, I feel like the sad sack background story is a bit tiring. There are some awesome bums who will approach you with some collateral. I met a bum that had some really cool poetry that I exchanged for some food and money at one point. I’m not a frugal prick, I just like some more bang for my buck. Hell, even if a dude carries on an interesting conversation for awhile then comes off with the sales pitch I may be inclined to fork over a little dough. My philosophy is that I don’t expect to be handed anything in life, therefore, I don’t feel obligated nor do I feel like its my responsibility to hand out money that I worked for to every asshole that begs for it. I’ll make you work for it. Fuck you if you think that’s dickish.
Anyway, if you are like me and want to avoid the awkward situation where you need a better way to tell someone you don’t have any money. See my bum liners section of the site.
Aaaand I’m out..