Monday, September 30, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #24)


By Daniel Canada c.2010 

THE BEGGARS (Continued)

Now, after I've finished lambasting the homeless sham artist, I am burdened at last with the overwhelming need to vent a personal vituperation against a small group of the homeless that I've ran into along my travails...I meant travels. These guys and gals are not as insidious as the ones I've taken pain to "out," as the saying goes, to expose for the frauds they are. This next group is simply, how does one say? An eclectic lot among the undomiciled.

These are the homeless vegetarians.


Yes. I had to go there. But I'll make it brief and as painless as possible. The reason I had to touch on this topic is that I was astonished to find such a thing actually existed out here.

Here's the scenario. I'm in a church, on a soup line. Everyone steps up to get a hot plate of whatever they're serving. The line suddenly comes to an abrupt halt.  Some homeless person is fussing with one of the volunteer servers over the contents of his plate.

“I said I don't eat meat. I'm a vegetarian!” he complains, as if there was some hidden conspiracy to sneak meat onto his plate.

“Well then, you're going to have to step aside, so we can prepare a special vegetarian plate for you.”

The homeless vegetarian finally steps aside to allow the rest of the waiting, hungry folks to move forward on the line. “And make sure they don't mix any scraps of meat into my food. You know I can't eat any meat!” he sternly warns the patient volunteer server, while waiting on the side of the line.

The server takes a good look at him. “You know all we have is some white rice and string beans. But I can give you an extra helping of that, if you want.”

The homeless vegetarian frowns, as if he's being giving the short stick out of a draw on Gilligan's Island.


Wait a minute! Something's out of place with this entire business here!

This is the streets, and you're in a bloody-excuse the French-church soup kitchen.  Special orders are for five-star restaurants, like Tavern on the Green, buddy.  When you're out here, you have to eat what you're given.

Besides, what's up with the lack of gratitude?

Being on a vegetarian diet is difficult for working-class people to afford. For a homeless person to expect to be served steamy dishes of vegetable delight everyday on a church soup line is all together unreasonable.

The local Hare Krishna temple serves vegetarian diners on Wednesday nights, sunshine.

So be there.

Homeless vegetarians, on your mark...Get set...Go!

(To be continued...) 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #23)



 By Daniel Canada c.2010

Enough said.

All of us has had the occasion to be confronted with the decision to give up a portion of our hard-earned money to the street beggar. And many a sympathetic person has had to wrestle with their consciences, as whether to appropriate a few shekels to the outstretched hands of these most pitiable souls. However, I'm going to peel the veneer away from this type of individual, and expose the truth about the common beggar.

I might have to watch my back on the streets after this.



After demonstrating how impossible it is for a homeless person to go hungry in any giving city, with all the abundant soup kitchens, courtesy of the selfless churches, synagogues, along with the begrudged run-of-the-mill, government grub establishments, all I have to say about the beggars is it's now obvious they are all full of shit. I like the beggars who post signs requesting money to purchase more beer. They're true to the game and are shooting from the hip. And believe it or not they have regular customers who give them donations anyway.

I reckon fellow drinkers, heading on their merry way to their favorite watering holes after work, understand what it's like to be thirty and need a drink or two, once in a while. As well-wishers, who have a few extra bucks to throw away at their favorite bars, they can afford to drop a couple of lettuce into this type of beggar's cup.

The rest of the hockey-pucks out there, hoisting cardboard signs about being hungry, stranded out of town, and what not, ought to get Tony Awards simply for mastering the art of bullshitting, or MBAs for selling the biggest hoax ever perpetrated upon hard-working Americans.

Next time you see a homeless beggar, give him a ham sandwich or a bagel instead, and see what he does with it.

Be sure to check the nearest garbage can later in the day.
(To be continued...)


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #22)


 By Daniel Canada c.2010

O.k. So here's how I suppose it went down. After making the formal request to be initiated into Alfred E. Neuman Phi Fraternal House in F. U., they are told to meet up at a certain place and time. They are sternly warned not to reveal this information to anyone else, or they'll be hung upside down by their toenails. 

They show up. A van with dark windows pulls to the curb, and out charges three hooded, overly zealous, pubescent, fraternal brothers or sisters, who grab a halt of them, shove them into the van, make them change their school clothes for a pair of worn-out, homeless, "Skeksy"-looking gear. They tell them that if they want to enjoy the rights and privileges of the fraternity, then they must submit to the harsh ritual of "slumming it" as homeless people, all day for several days, and that they will be promptly picked up by the same van and in the same location at mid-night.

So, there you have it! If you take the time to notice you too will see their kind, squatting around with cardboard boxes, all throughout the Midtown areas. To the average person, all homeless people are the same.

But not to us! 

We have eyes that can truly see.

One night I'm going to drum up the nerve to case these kids out, and I bet you-say a quarter, since that's something I can afford to lose-that at midnight a dark, mysterious van's going to pull up. Several hooded adolescent kids will pour out of the partially opened door, and whisk the other kids away, back to the warmth and safety of the college dorms.

I wonder what happened to the days, when fraternities use to parade their candidates down the street with ropes around their necks, hazing them along the way, like making them pick up cigarette butts from the sidewalk, and what not? 

Ah! The good old days!

If you ain't homeless and on your ass out in the street, stop shamming! It's hard enough getting the average working-class person to comprehend the complexities that brought millions of once productive citizens to their knees, and out in a world sans the comfort of a home. It's tough enough to get others to understand how difficult it is to survive out in this wild concrete jungle, without a pot to piss in and a window to throw it out of. 

Don't complicate matters, in the name of a science project, or university sponsored study. On the other hand, if you guys really belong to a college fraternity, I submit that you speak to the Grand Poobah, or whoever's in charge, and suggest going back to the old rope and collecting cigarette butts, hazing ritual. 

That way people can separate the homeless from the student.
(To be continued...)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #21)



 By Daniel Canada c.2010


If you're taking up psychology, if you're taking up political science, fine. I don't give a hoot in hell if you're just meandering about in the dorms of the universities, studying liberal arts and don't have a fucking clue what in the hell you want to do for the next semester, or the rest of your life. But don't get the notion that you're so goddamned smart that you can outsmart a homeless person about being homeless. 

Ah! You know what I'm talking about? 

I’m talking about you college kids I see hanging around on street corners, sitting on the ground with cardboard signs, saying "I'm broke, and homeless, and need a few dollars to eat."

Yeah, that shit. 

As I walk down the streets of Fifth Avenue, or anywhere in the Mid-Town area of Manhattan, and run into these youngsters, I have to shake my head in disbelief. 

Where the Christ do they come from? 

Ok. I’m going to let you in on a little homeless secret. 

Most homeless people know each other. We're part of an unknown, underground "community." We eat at the same places, use the same public facilities, shower at the same places, and yes, sleep generally in the same areas. So homeless people in Manhattan , or the Bronx , or where ever they live, see each other all the time. Once in a while we'll even exchange pleasantries, or curse words, or just flip each other the bird in passing. But if we threw a stick in a crowd of homeless people, chances are the average “Skek” probably could name ninety-five percent of the ones the damned stick hit.

So, once again the question. Who in God's earth are these middle-class, suburban looking youngsters, fronting about on the sidewalks like they're homeless, and down and out?

Where the hell do they come from?

College, of course.

They're college students, engaging in some kind of undercover college study. Perhaps it's about homeless life in America, or demographics. I can't wait to see their thesis when it comes out! I hope they got all their facts straight, and they're gearing up to become lobbyist, to pressure congress to appropriate more funding for the homeless in America. 

Somehow, I just don't think that this is the case.

Racking my brain on this strange phenomenon, I was forced to entertain the thought that what I'm looking at is really not what I'm looking at. Let me explain my conjecture. If what I’m witnessing is not some new wave of middle-class, suburban, college kids, "slumming it out," to gather real-life facts about living out on the streets, then perhaps they are members of a secret fraternity.

That's right, a fra-ter-nity, for those of you who might be aghast at this declaration.

Maybe all this sitting in the back of cardboard boxes with handwritten signs, supplicating passersby for money, wearing less-than-persuasive cheap swag, and looking all down and out, is just part of a fraternity initiation process.

You know, a couple of college kids succumb to peer pressure. They want to be popular and to get laid. So they join the local college fraternity. Be it Alpha, Beta, or Sigmund Freudian Phi, most colleges have a fraternity and plenty of young men and women want to have the prestige of belonging to such a fraternal order. So they line up in mass to get their asses branded. It looks really cool at parties, and once again, it gets you laid.
(To be continued...)