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...)