THE HOBO HANDBOOK: MEMOIRS OF A HOMELESS POET IN NEW YORK
PERSONALITIES OF THE HOMELESS
“Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.”
-Sir Winston Churchill
British politician (1874 - 1965)
A personality is a behavior that makes up who and what we are. Arrogant people get one label, and humble people get another. This is a truism in life as in the homeless world, as well. I’ve seen pretty much of it all, from the certifiable nut, the outlandish freak, to the downright hapless fool. There exists the whole gamut of individuals out here.
It’s too easy for you to become like one of them, or a melding of two or three of these motley characters, if you don’t keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel, trooper. Here, following, is a category of the people that I have encountered. Some of them you might find hilarious, some you might view to be downright tragic. It definitely served as a warning to me to keep a constant vigil on myself, so I wouldn’t emulate any one of these characters. If you find yourself homeless, you ought to do the same. Because if you don’t snap out of it right quick, you might find yourself traveling down that long, slippery, slide into madness, precious.
SCURVY This kind of nincompoop is living in two diametrically opposed worlds; the world of a working-class citizen and the absurd world of the homeless. Taken from an actual homeless man, "Scurvy" earned his name because of the way he speaks, and the crazy, drunken antics he performs in public while under the influence of alcohol.
You’ll find “Scurvy” singing out loud, and cavorting himself around as a craze, out of control, sailor, ranting and raving in front of the rush-hour crowd at Penn Station. This type of homeless person is an attention seeker, and will go to any lengths to get it. Sometimes he will act up just for someone to simply look his way and to recognize that he exists. Being thrust out of the wheel of life, and into the streets can offer a great challenge to one's self-esteem and mental tenacity.
The remedy for this kind of melancholy drift into the abyss of insanity is to find a "friend," anyone you can talk to, to bounce yourself and your ideas off. Cavorting with a companion can aide in keeping one’s mental veracity sharp, and help in keeping you grounded in reality. This is a sure way to verify that you don’t go over the deep end, and wind up like "Scurvy."
(To be continued...)