>>> Primal Urges
By staff writer Nathan DeGraaf
December 21, 2005
Shortly after arriving in Atlanta for the PIC 5th annual birthday gimmick, I found myself wandering around the streets of Atlanta (because I had arrived early while my editor was at dinner and he suggested that I wander around the streets in search of a bar—Court Sullivan, what a guy!). For the next few days, I would often find myself wandering around the streets of Atlanta alone (mainly because I like to wake up around noon and Court prefers to wake up shortly after the sun sets—this is how he maintains his summery complexion). And over the course of those four days, approximately 723 different alleged homeless people asked me for money.
Now, I’m not one to tell a person how to make a living. And, I have been known to give money to different homeless people on occasion. So I was shocked to discover, while letting my mind wander on the six hour drive home, that I hadn’t given one dime to one panhandler. And, because I had six hours, I made a mental list of the criteria that bums have to meet to achieve my hard earned change. In no order of importance, here are the five things that all homeless people need to keep in mind. Please note: not one Atlanta panhandler did any of these things. They were literally lazy bums.
So, to you Atlanta panhandlers, I offer the following pieces of advice. You don’t have to thank me. I’m here for the little people, too.
At Least Look Homeless
Look, I’m not a moron. I wasn’t born yesterday. I talk to lots of homeless people and most of them are similar in appearance. Their skin is usually screwed up from a crappy diet, they typically have little energy, and they almost always have a deranged look in their eyes that says, “It’s obvious there’s no way I could hold a job.” All of the Atlanta “homeless” either looked like a) regular people who forgot to shower that day, b) drug addicts who forgot to shower that day, c) regular people who did shower that day or d) hustlers. One Atlanta “bum” even approached me while he was wearing a wool coat and carrying an electric guitar. I mean, come on. At least play the part. We’re not all suckers.
Aww, your life sucks? Bad things have happened to you? You just need help. Really? Hey, that sounds a lot like my life. Bad things happen to me. And I still have to work. If you want my money, realize how valuable my time is and make me laugh. The best kind of “homeless guy” jokes, by the way, occur when the homeless man shows boundless optimism. Lines I’ve heard homeless people say that earned my money in the past (to quote two) were, “Hey man. Help me out. I’m gonna fight Lennox Lewis and I’m a quarter short for the bus fare to Vegas.” And, “Hey man. Help a brother out. I’m twenty cents away from getting Trump’s new book. I’m gonna be rich and I won’t forget you.” When a humble looking guy uses lines like those, I laugh, I reach into my pocket and I give him a little change. A good laugh is worth at least a few pennies, right?
Don’t Let Me See You in the Bar
This really pissed me off. As I was walking into a bar called Mick’s Underground, I saw a man in a green hat drinking a beer. After paying his tab, the bartender acknowledged the man by name and then counted a three dollar tip. Later, after Fred, Tyrone and me were kicked out of Mick’s by the most uncool bar manager I have ever had the displeasure of bumping into (by the way, if whoever managed Mick’s around 3pm on Saturday is reading this, you can take a flying fuck to the moon—you suck like a lemon puckered blowjob, rot in hell), I saw that man sitting outside on a bench. And he asked me for change.
“Dude,” I said. “I just saw you in Mick’s.”
“That’s Willie,” said Fred. “He always got his hand out.”
As we walked away, I asked Fred if Willie had a job.
“Yeah man,” said Fred, “He works with Terri [the woman I sat next to at the bar] in the city building.”
I can’t tell you how much that pissed me off.
Don’t Touch Me
Seriously, don’t touch me. I will kick you in the knees. It’s a promise.
How hard is this? No one owes you a thing. So when you start yelling at someone for not giving you money, well, what do you expect. A bum in Atlanta actually told me the following sentence: “Just tell me you don’t wanna pay me! Don’t tell me you got no money!”
You believe that shit? The man wanted honesty and free money all from the same stranger. What an ass.
Now, I know that a lot of you homeless people don’t have computers, so I hope that you are reading this on a piece of paper that was printed out by a PIC reader and placed in your open hand. And I hope you follow all of these pieces of advice. Next time I’m in town, you better have your shit together.