Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Breaking News: Beggars Can Now Be Choosers

Consider the actually-happened, real-life scenes that follow:
  • Outside of McDonalds on a sunny afternoon: A panhandler waggles his cup o' change at passersby. A woman stops, apologizes that she has no change, but offers a bag of nuts. The panhandler dismisses the candy bar with a wave of his hand. "I don't want that shit. I want a Big Mac! Gimme some money so I can get a Big Mac and a Coke."
  • The Object is coming home with some Astor Mediterranean takeout, and per usual, it is more than he can actually eat in one sitting. A panhandler asks for money. The Object offers the panhandler some of his food. "Whatchoo got?" asks the panhandler. "Hummus," replies the Object. The panhandler asks, "What's that?" The Object responds, "Chickpeas and garlic with some pitas. It's one of my favorites." The panhandler wrinkles his nose and responds, "Oh. No. I don't want that. I was hoping for some fried chicken."
  • A man who's seen better days stops me and recites a detailed sob story involving great-aunts and uncles. The point of the story is that he hasn't eaten in ages and he's literally starving. I offer him my for-emergencies-only granola bar that I keep in my purse for when I get cranky at work. It's a Nature Valley one, the kind that is all crunchy and has not one, but TWO granola bars. But lo, the panhandler pushes it away, saying "That's pussy food."
I've heard several of these anecdotes, and the general consensus is that they seem to be happening more frequently. Is this how it works now? You get to choose what you beg for? And insult the person offering it when you don't get your way? Because I was under the impression things worked differently.

I'd guess I'd be more insulted if I weren't so stoked that I still got the smug satisfaction of trying to help a fellow man without having to fork over my granola bar.


Anonymous Chris Chan said...

I remember in college that a few students got disgusted at the soup kitchen in Appleton. A bunch of them tried to do some community service by serving food to the homeless. Several homeless people verbally abused the volunteers for trying to give them meatloaf, because they were vegans. That incident caused a bunch of students to swear off volunteering, at least for a while.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Clare


Ps Check your mail at

1:12 AM  

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