Jesus commanded people to give to the poor. From what little of the Bible I remember, I think a widow with last-season’s Céline bag (TWO strikes) gave him her last cent, and he later told the story.
finally: a purse with a facial expression that reflects its pouting bitch owner
I also give to the poor. I don’t care for thanks or rewards but I’m willing to help a brotha out.
But then again, I live in Los Angeles, where the poor mysteriously have more money than I do.
At the Wilshire and Federal intersection by my old apartment, there would be, without fail, someone asking for money from the cars coming from Brentwood towards the 405 in the left turn lane. And since it was next to the VA, many would have signs saying that they were homeless veterans who needed help.
So it was easy to sympathize, and everyone I gave money to was polite and thankful.
Then one day, I was walking home when I noticed three of the usual beggars texting each other and laughing on a bench outside the Wells Fargo tower.
What in the actual fuck?
Here I am, scrimping to make sure I can pay my phone bill every month, and these bastards are flagrantly, shamelessly using smartphones while taking a break from asking for money.
I should have known better.
Back home in Fresno, there was a guy with a wheeled walker who could barely stand up and parked himself on the corner where people turned out of the Vons parking lot, with a VA ID card taped to his sign. It was an area frequented by soccer moms and the well-to-do leaving the nearby car wash—strategic.
The real heartbreaking thing was that he would creakily stand up and salute each car passing by.
Even my tiny, mythical, vestigial heart broke.
As I pulled up and watched him give his trademark salute, I pulled out a $20 and handed it across the window to him. I felt that, out of every beggar I’ve ever considered donating to, this man deserved it in spades.
He mumbled a half-hearted thanks, and proceeded to brag about how someone leaving the car wash gave him $1000 last week. He recanted how he frequently received $100 bills too, ending with a definitive statement of just how well-off he was.
Had he pulled his elastic waistband and tighty-not-so-whiteys down and taken a diarrhea-textured shit on the side of my car, I’d have been less disgusted.
I mustered a scowl and pulled the window up, watching him continue to pull his con on subsequent cars through my rearview mirror.
I never saw him again, and I’m afraid that if I did, I’d push him and his wheelchair directly into traffic in anger.
But back to LA.
I walked up to the Starbucks counter from my laptop at around 230AM this week to get a small sausage biscuit. I needed a little stomach-lining because the coffee was burning through to my pancreas.
As I’m paying, a guy walks up to me out of nowhere and asks, “Hey man, can you give me some money for a cup of coffee?” He was going to keep talking but I cut him off with “no, sorry, I don’t have any money, thanks”. Normally I would’ve let him finish, but something about his vibe was just…off. Not like he was crazy, just that he seemed untrustworthy.
I felt a quick wave of ‘bad’. I could have scanned in my free refill and given it to him, and it really wouldn’t have cost me anything. Oh well, it was too late, he walked away.
But sure enough, I turn around and see him slink back to his new laptop, where he was playing Bejeweled with his new Xplod boombox underneath his new Adidas sneakers.
Here I am, typing on an external keyboard on my 4-year-old Mac because I can’t afford to replace the actual one which broke, and this goddamn sonofabitch has the fucking nerve to ask me to buy him a cup of coffee.
I wish there was a heavily-trafficked, high-speed boulevard big enough for me to push this asshole and GI Dick and the Cellphone Triplets and all these other panhandling pricks into. You all hurt people who legitimately need money and are actually homeless and in need of assistance. And you’ve turned this gent with a heart of gold into a pessimist with a heart of rock.