September 8, 2010

So fresh and so clean

By nature of where my office is located I see a lot of homeless people. There are currently five-to-six hundred thousand homeless people living on the streets*, so clearly I'm not alone in this viewing pattern. With such large numbers, I think we can agree that homelessness is nothing to laugh about. Well, sometimes. Anytime you see a grown man walking around with his pants full of poo, you’re bound to get weak, even if said poo is the result of a debilitating metal illness.
Jokes aside, being a homeless person is pretty shitty. But like all shitty things, there is always an upside. Sure, living on the streets is brutal, but in some ways it can be very liberating.

For people with a fixed address, flashing your junk to a stranger is considered crossing the line. Not for the homeless! Last week I witnessed a homeless man flash what appeared to be a twenty-something female as she exited a nearby convenience store. If I exposed myself to an unsuspecting female outside a public establishment she’d no doubt be a bitch about it and report me to the cops. Me: Jail time. Homeless guy: No lifestyle change.

On the off chance she does complain about the homeless guy the worst that can happen is him having to relocate to a new home (so to speak). And sure, once you arrive in your new home (so to speak), you'll have to set up shop and muscle in on the weakest beggar's turf. But that’s a small price to pay for not having to live like all those suckers on the Sacramento county sex offender registry which, no doubt, would be my outcome.

Not all homeless are the same. As any advocate would point out, many are hard-working folks who have simply drawn the short stick. Our culture has always drawn the distinction, extolling the virtues of the lovable “hobo” who travels from town to town looking for decent work, while decrying the lazy “bum” who shuffles from place to place seeking a handout. While “hobo breakfasts” are offered at shitty dinners across the country, I have yet to find a “bum’s brunch,” and if I did, I probably wouldn’t eat it (with my mouth).

Society laments that hard work is the best course of action when you’re down on your luck - Well I call bullshit. If you’ve already hit rock bottom, why not rest a while and enjoy the freedom that comes with having nothing left to lose? It’s the type of freedom that only being a bum can offer.

Why bust ass going from town to town looking for a job that doesn’t exist? Standing on a street corner with a sign can be a very profitable venture - sometimes netting over $300 a day.* Even if you cut that down to $50 a day, that’s still $250 a week, which isn’t that bad considering your cost of living expenses consist of bottles of Boone's Farm and occasionally using the shower at the YMCA (optional). You might even have enough left over to afford luxuries like baby wipes or, oooh! an AM radio.

Enjoy your 9 to five, chumps! Bumming is where it’s at!

(Editor's Note: I'd imagine that bumming is far more tolerable in a warm climate, so try to hit rock bottom in Florida or Southern California).

Being homeless means you can forgo the pressure of expectations. If you’re homeless, the bar is set much, much lower. Not only is dressing in an outlandish and outdated outfit totally acceptable, but such behavior will often elicit pity, increasing your bottom line while you “bum” for change. Plus, unlike average citizens, homeless have to go to great lengths simply to achieve eye contact, much less engage in conversation. This means your free to stand in the middle of the sidewalk and yell about whatever you want and no one will think anything of it. Want to wear a banana on your head? Fling fecal matter at a neighborhood cat? Go for it! The homeless live in a 24/7 judgment free zone!

Bums can start fire anywhere they want. Granted, it has to fit within the confines of a garbage can, but no street, no driveway, no public parking lot is off limits. For nothing more than the cost of a pack of matches and some flammable rubbish, you can participate in a time-honored tradition celebrated by vagabonds since the dawn of waste receptacles. Smell the burning garbage as you swap robbery tips with your fellow hobo! Add a tire to the fire, and reminisce about the “good-old days” when you were still making like Jewel and living out of your car! Better yet, grab a stick and roast up that expired piece of chicken you found on the sidewalk behind Trader Joe's. Heat kills germs people!

During an ill-fated attempt to receive community service credit in high school, I once agreed to volunteer at a soup kitchen. While serving a homeless man his allotted portion of cream-of-hot dog chowder, his pocket began to vibrate. Much to my surprise, he pulled out a pager and proceeded to respond via the cell phone in his other pocket by asking what they were doing later in the evening. I assume the answer was “sleeping on a bed of trash,” but I’ll never know - I was just impressed he knew how to text anything other that "8008135" since this incident happened in 1998.

Upon reflection, that incident has opened my eyes to the abundance of free time available to the homeless. Most people would kill to be able to walk to the beach in the middle of a work day, or stand outside a tennis court and watch a competitive rally on a sunny afternoon. Plus, why would I ever need to exercise when I spend my days covering more tracks than Chad from Intervention?

All these perks, and I haven't even mentioned the fact that public libraries are open to all, providing a great opportunity to catch up on the latest John Grisham novel or use a functioning toilet.

Bum? Hobo? Not so fast America. From here on out I'm dubbing our transient population what they really are: Renaissance men.

* I made these facts up.


Kristen said...

Holy shit I just farted from laughing at this!

Anonymous said...

haha. Oh no - Chad is your celebrity twin.

Brett said...

I always used to text boobies. Am I homeless?

Anonymous said...

I LOL'd at this.

Katy said...

Can homeless people outdrink you?

Michelle said...

I make up facts all the time - Particularly when it comes to where I live.

Balls said...

pretty much love you luke