…especially since my own employment status lately ranges from under- to ‘what-the-hell-is-going- on?’ to ‘oh, I should just go throw myself under a bus, the world has no use for me.’ But jiminy Christmas — Chicago must have the most incompetent panhandlers on the face of the fucking earth.
I mean, panhandlers do provide a kind of service. They serve as a way for overpaid people to assuage some of the guilt they feel over the fact that they receive far more money than they need to sit in a corner office and do nothing that is of any use to anyone. I have never required this service, personally, so I do not give money to panhandlers unless they particularly appeal to me for some reason. The girl with the cat a couple months ago, for instance. Not only did she have a sign saying she wanted to work — and a stack of resumes she was handing out to anyone who would take one — she had an adorable, if frightened-looking, fuzzy cat on her lap. I gave her a dollar I really couldn’t afford to give away basically because I hoped some of it would be used to purchase cat food.
Also — this is the important part — SHE DIDN’T FUCKING RUIN HER CHANCES AND PISS ME OFF BY YELLING AT ME.
Like a civilized beggar, this skilled member of her craft wrote a description of her situation on her sign, and then sat there quietly next to her sign, thereby giving people the choice of whether or not to give her money or take her resume without shrieking, bellowing, moaning, groaning, whining, or belching at them to get their attention.
Most panhandlers, who can’t figure out the psychology behind the very acts of human kindness on which they’ve decided to depend for a living, suck. Look, buddy. You who have been yelling at me since the moment you saw me. People are not blind, unless they have a cane or a dog with them to indicate that, yes, they might not notice you standing there with your hand out. Most of us can fucking see you there. If we are not giving you money, it’s because we’re unemployed and broke and almost homeless ourselves. Or maybe we’re selfish, OK, you got us — but is barking like a dog at a person suddenly going to make them see the light about human fellowship?! If they want to give you money, people will. But if you make noises out of your fucking head at them — and most of you make really loud and irritating noises with your heads; maybe this situation could be improved if you were forced to listen to recordings of yourselves — the likelihood that they will give you cash drops considerably.
The cat girl was raking it in. These dipshits who think they’re going to provoke compassion by howling at people — do you ever see anybody giving them change? Ever? The only ones I ever see giving them anything start talking as they do it, and it quickly becomes clear that they’re just as fucking douchey and irritating as the incompetent panhandler, only luckier. They enjoy giving money to other loud, obnoxious hosers? — well, good for them. But that’s really a specialty market. People who don’t like being yelled at in public make up, I think, the vast majority.
And they only seem to be getting worse. I guess everyone else is increasingly broke, so they’re increasingly desperate. Instead of working smarter though, they’re just working harder. The other day I was trucking down Halsted, trying to save el fare by walking a ridiculously long way to a job interview; I had some quarters in my pocket that I was going to spend on the train back if I was too tired. I was trying to cross before the light turned red when this fucker with a Dunkin Donuts cup popped out from behind a mailbox and started not only shouting in my face about how he could hear the change in my pocket, but doing a shuffle-dance back and forth in order to keep himself in my way so I would be trapped on the street corner with him for the duration of the red light. I was not in the mood for a goddamned waltz lesson; needless to say, he did not get any money out of me that day. I didn’t even deign to point out the irony of the situation.
Then again, maybe in these tough economic times, it’s good for the rest of us that the vets stink at this trade so awfully. Things get any worse, I should start panhandling myself. Show these morons a thing or two. Just by keeping my fool mouth shut I’d be the ace rookie on the block.