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My Panhandling Neighbors

             

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~  
Unlike my friend Vol-E in her post I'm Okay. You're Okay. Now Leave Me Alone and Go Away!, I can’t claim that I am waylaid by my neighbors in my driveway begging for money.  I am, however, often waylaid by panhandlers around my office.  They like to stand by the entrance to all the lunch-time eateries begging for money to buy some food.  The panhandlers are working guilty feelings as we can all understand being hungry and having no food, yet there we are getting our lunches while another person starves.  Sheer genius, right out of Oliver Twist’s School of Fagin.

Lest you think that this guilty begging is a guy thing, women have now taken up begging positions on the sidewalk to the eateries.  Their guilty scam is to put a baby on display.  I suppose that one can always borrow a niece or nephew for this enterprise.

Now me, I ignore them all. Guilt does not work on me because I already ease my guilty conscience by giving money to Food Bank charities.

I remember one panhandler in particular.  He appeared at the entrance to my favorite eatery.  He was there every day begging for money and I ignored him.  I cannot say how successful he was as he did not present a particularly sympathetic appearance.  He wore clean jeans and a clean Tee shirt but he had a beer belly.  Really????!!!!  How can anyone give money to a guy with a beer belly?  The least he could do was to look needy.

One day, Beer Belly broke the unwritten rules of the street and asked me, “Why don’t you ever give me any money?” Of all the nerve! What bad manners.  My first thought was, "Do I look like a consumer focus group to you?"  My next thought was, “You would just go have some fun in a bar with my money.  I can do that myself.”  Instead, I said, “Not today.”  That’s usually how I respond to anyone on the street asking me for money when I cannot in good manners ignore them.  Beer Belly never asked me for money anymore after that.

After a summer or so, Beer Belly disappeared.  Sure enough, someone else took his place at the eatery entrance and I promptly ignored him too.  I guess Beer Belly must have used up all the goodwill in the neighborhood and traded locations with the new guy.  At least the new guy did manage to look needy in his worn out clothes.

Some months later, I am on the train going home and guess who comes into the car begging?  It was a strange moment when Beer Belly and I recognized each other.  He said “Hello” as he passed me and went on this begging way.  That was the last time I saw him.  I imagine that he is still some where in the city plying his trade.

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