Below Pathetic

If there is a line below pathetic, I have found it.

Many times, as I ride my bike around different cities, I am confronted with what few people like to see. There are few who give recognition it; then there are others who seek it out to give themselves some kind of pat on the back or believe that they are doing something good.

Here’s where I stand on the issue of “homeless”: if you have the ability to stand for 6-8 hours on a sidewalk and beg for money, you can walk across the street and get a job. WAIT! I know there are those out there who are mentally or physically disabled, but I think the percentage in truth is very low. And God bless him . . . if a man in the town where I live who only has use of one arm and in a wheelchair can work at Walmart as a greeter and give the warmest hellos to everyone who comes in, then there is NO excuse. Put down your sign that you are combat veteran (highly doubtful) and/or that you have kids to feed and get a job! No, no, no . . . don’t tell me that the economy has no jobs when nearly every fast food joint within a 50 mile radius has “help wanted” signs posted. But here’s what you’ve learned Mr. Panhandler: make minimum wage and pay taxes or take home $200 a day (cash) by begging. Where did I get that number? I’m glad you asked.

On Monday of this week, after work , I was hanging out at one of the local bike shops and a guy walks in. He states to the owner that he was there to buy the bike he looked at on Saturday. The man seems friendly enough and talked to everyone there. In conversation, I asked him where he worked.

“I hang a shingle,” he replied.

I nodded. “I bet roofing is hard work.”

“No, not that kind of shingle,” he said with a laugh.

I caught a glance and grin from one of the mechanics, so I pressed on. “What kind of shingle?”

“A sign, man. A shingle. I panhandle.”

Around this point, he pulls out $315 or so (in a wad of 1, 5, and 10 dollar bills) and pays for his bike. Of course, I pressed. “Man, you must do well.”

“Oh, it has it’s good and bad days,” he said, as he pushed the bike toward the door. “Most days I can bump over 200, if I’m in the right place.”

THAT, my friends, is below pathetic.

In most countries where this blog is able to be read, the opportunities to better yourself are there. There is NO doubt that there are people who do need help; but next time, instead of handing them money, ask them if you could buy them a sandwich or a soft drink. Items to keep warm would be a bonus to me, if I were homeless. Many times these requests or items are rejected. The holidays are a particularly lucrative time for panhandlers. Be careful about just handing money to strangers because you feel guilty about your success and nice home. I have even had someone to ask me if I felt guilty riding past the homeless on such expensive bikes . . . nope, I don’t. Why? I work hard to get what I have. Yes, I do give to charity and needy causes and volunteer at events, but I refuse to feel guilty. I included a few recent articles/videos that caused me to shake my head and show how far we have fallen:

Driving a Mercedes?

Homeless in New Car

It boils down to this: if a person has the ability to work, but guilts you into giving him money, it’s flat out theft by deception. He’s a thief. The two in the above articles should be imprisoned. I’m glad that in both articles someone was taking a stand against this. Keeping silent, knowing what is happening, is why this is a very rapidly growing problem around the world.

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8 thoughts on “Below Pathetic

  1. IDK man, I have to disagree with you on this one. Too many levels of circumstances for each person. For every scammer, there is a legit if that is the right word, homeless person. A lot of them have substance abuse issues, mental issues (varying levels) and just too many other issues (anger, anti-social, etc) to pigeon hole most of them. I used to have zero tolerance for the homeless, but over the years of seeing it first hand and now being unemployed for over two years (no, I will not take a min wage job, did that once for 8 months washing dishes) after taxes, even though it’s min taxes, I could not afford to feed myself.

    Bad situation. But, my situation pales in comparison to some of the homeless men, women and children. I get where you’re coming from though buddy, but I had a change of mindset in the last decade. Especially given the greed of the wealthy (the top 1/10th) and the banksters and the corrupt governments that do NOTHING to try to curb poverty and homelessness. It’s a very complex situation, not really black and white like we would want it to be. Sure, there will always be scammers, in every facet of life. As I have aged, I have more compassion for those less fortunate.

    1. Oh yeah, I know and understand what you feel. I really do. It’s bigger than just a few hundred word blog can hold. I also look at it as choices too. We all make choices good and bad that affect our lives. I have talked to many “street” people doing volunteer work at church, but VERY few have no way out. Like a kid I talked to one time, when I was a cop, he said that it is impossible to sell drugs at 12 years old and make thousands a week all the way up to 16 years old and then go to work for minimum wage. I get it. It is choices. Somewhere along the line, choices were and are made. I have two family members who looooove to live on government assistance and think that it’s everyone else’s fault but theirs. It’s sad. There are literally hundreds of programs that are set up (college, housing, etc.) that people could use. Some take advantage and some wallow in pity.
      Like I said, I do understand when it comes to mental health and such, but we have waaaaaay to many in my neck of the woods that would rather do nothing.
      Thank you for the comment. 🙂

  2. All I know is I show up for my meetings and will help any drunk who asks to sober up by sharing my experience, strength and hope and often taking them out to eat, but that’s the end of my penance. The hand of recovery was there for me and I make sure it’s there for newcomers but once I sobered up it was all on me. Great post as usual my friend.

  3. Seems like you make a lot of assumptions to support your position, which is fine, but don’t judge others who do not make those same assumptions:

    “I know there are those out there who are mentally or physically disabled, but I think the percentage in truth is very low.”

    You “think”? Just because you choose to “think” that does not make it true.

    “Put down your sign that you are combat veteran (highly doubtful)”

    Why is that “highly doubtful”? Maybe because believing he is not makes it easier to ignore?

    “nearly every fast food joint within a 50 mile radius has “help wanted” signs posted”

    How many of those fast food restaurants within your 50 mile radius have you actually visited? I do not tend to go to fast food restaurants, but my boys do convince me to take them every once in a while, and I have yet to see such a sign.

    Look, you are entitled to your own opinion, but some of the arguments you make to support that opinion are based on more of your own opinions! If you want to say that you were appalled by the encounter in the bike shop, just say that. As one of the other commenters said, there are scammers in every field, just because one doctor urges an unnecessary surgery in order to make more money does not mean all of them do….

    1. Yes, I do support the claims with my opinions. That is why I have a blog. It is your opinion that certain wines suck and others don’t, but someone wouldn’t say that they tasted the same wine and you are wrong. According to what you research, less than 1/3 of homeless in the U.S. are mentally ill and less than 1/5 of homeless are veterans. My post was not to display my findings of homeless, based on years of research. It is just what you said. It is my opinion. Thanks for reading and commenting. I enjoy your blog very much.

    1. Sure! Like another guy told me one time, hang out at a shopping center for sixish hours and see if you come in contact with 300 or more people. Now, ask each guy for only a dollar. Boom.
      Thanks for the comment, tempo!

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