In Farmer’s Branch, TX, there was a man who went (and still goes) to Vegas seven times a year funded only by money he made begging. After waking up in his nice bed in his house in the suburbs, he’d dress in tatty clothes, smear himself with dirt, park his Ford Explorer five or six blocks away from the day’s designated street corner, and pretend to be an injured homeless man. His injury switched every week. One week his leg was broken, the next week he had a back brace, then the next week his arm was in a sling.
Another “homeless” man made roughly $300 a day begging, or $100,000 a year, tax-free. With a “salary” like that, why would he ever stop begging? Easy work for a decent living? Why would anyone say no to that?
Oh, right. Because normal people have consciences, or at least, I hope we do.
Call me callous, but this is why I never give money to people on the street. If I’m going to give money to people in need, I want to make sure they’re actually in need. That’s why charities are ideal establishments for donations, as opposed to an allegedly homeless person’s coffee cup that I can’t be sure came from a trash can or Pier 1. Homelessland isn’t an every-man-for-himself anarchy. Many charities and shelters exist to help real homeless people, or at least pretend to help them, and at the end of the day, isn’t that all that really counts?
Remember when Mom used to do stuff for you when you were a little kid? Then she taught you how to do it yourself and everything went downhill.
Meals—now you have to cook for yourself, and it sucks. It can be fun, but everything burns and explodes and soon you’re homeless because you tried to make chicken parmesan and everything went wrong.
Bills—not paying bills is awesome, but then your power gets cut off and you find yourself squatting in an abandoned Circuit City fighting with some random hobo over a half-eaten tuna sandwich.
Work—from 9 to 5, your day is grueling and your boss is a douche. Expense reports? Fax machines? Coffee pots? Sexual harassment? No thanks. You remember the days when your parents worked and you didn’t have to. So you skip a day, then another day, then another, and soon you have no paycheck to support your apartment and you’re back to your next WWE showdown with the hobo next door, er, next cardboard box.
Clipping Toenails—and on that note, hygiene period. Now I know that most of us, if not all, were taught to clean ourselves at some point in our lives, whether that be showering or licking ourselves like a cat. But as you get older and you have to do all this other cleaning-type stuff—laundry, vacuuming, washing dishes—who has time to do menial self-cleaning-type stuff like clip their toenails? Yesterday, I looked down at my bare feet and saw Freddy Kruger’s hands. One might say, why not clip your toenails while doing something else, like when you’re watching TV? To them, I say, “Pfft!”. If your eyes are on your feet, then you can’t see the TV screen, and if you can’t see the TV screen, how will you know what happens with Serena and Dan in this week’s episode of Gossip Girl?! Then, suddenly, you’re homeless again.
Basically, getting older means getting homeless.
I guess it all started when I got caught photocopying letters of recommendation. I mean, it’s not like they weren’t legit, they were real, but there were only two of them, one copy of each, and I was applying for like four different jobs that all required at least two letters of recommendation. It’s not like I had a lot of options, I’ve never been an MVP or brownnoser, so I only had those two precious letters from the local Sub Hub manager and my sympathetic fifth grade math teacher. Maybe the real trouble started when I sold the extra copies, then wrote fake ones and sold them to random people I met through Led. You know Led, right? The seedy guy who hangs around the back of the Piggly Wiggly and sells thirteen-year-olds bad weed? A couple years ago, when I was an assistant garbage man, I caught him in the middle of a deal and promised not to narc on him. It wasn’t like I wanted to protect him or anything, I just didn’t care, but he was so grateful he stalked through a thrown-out phone book and looked up my number and declared us best friends. Anyway, these random people who were as pathetic and desperate as I was were hounding me for letters of recommendation, so I did it. Made myself a nice little profit, too. The forged recommendation letter business was good. I put my phone number on the bottom, made up some fake name and title and bullshit about some company that didn’t exist. Then I’d write the letter about how Mr. _______ was a great employee and I was sad when he quit because he was destined for bigger things and blah blah blah. But then word got around that there was some guy faking recommendation letters, because even though I used a lot of different fake names, my phone number never changed, you know, so potential bosses reading the letter could call me and I could lie about how so-and-so was a good worker and the letter-reader could validate that I was a real person, and yes, PancakeLegoTronics was a real company, etc. But somebody connected the dots and noticed the same phone number was listed for Hymn Prayerer and Sylvester Stump, and come to think of it, Sylvester Stump just sounded like a fake name. I mean, I never said I was trying to be discreet about this stuff. In retrospect, though, maybe my names were a little outrageous and if I’d laid low I wouldn’t have been arrested for identity theft, because, as it turns out, Jesus Cross is actually a real guy, a big Mexican dude with deep pockets and a bad temper, and he sued my ass and got me incarcerated.
So, yeah. That’s why I have a so-called “criminal” background. So do I get the job?