Tips for the Homeless
Sometimes, as I'm driving around in my Mercedes, I'll see homeless people at the side of the road asking for money. Usually when this happens, I'll pretend to be busy changing radio stations, or I'll act like the stoplight in front of me is the most fascinating thing I've ever seen in my life. But now and then I'll think, you know, that could easily be someone I know. There by the grace of God goes a distant relative. So then I think, what would I do if I were the kind of guy who actually cared about my fellow human beings? Would I toss a bag of French fries to the homeless man and then quickly roll up the window? Would I ask him for directions? Would I give him a fish, or would I teach him to fish? If I taught him to fish, would he prefer trout fishing or deep sea fishing? What kind of lures would we use? It was in the middle of such thoughts that I had an inspiration. You know what these people really need? It's not housing, medical care, or psychological counseling from my therapist Dr. Sherman; it's some good old fashioned advice. And advice is free. That's the beauty of it.
With that in mind, here are some tips for the homeless:
- If you're going to ask for money, don't smoke or take sips out of a brown paper sack while doing it. It doesn't help your cause. I'm just sayin'.
- Make sure your signs are readable for heaven's sake. Just last week, I nearly ran over an old lady trying to read one of them.
- Maybe try some humor. If you had a sign that simply said, "Screwed up real bad," I bet you would get some serious chump change.
- Learn to spell already. It's not "Prays God;" it's "Praise God." I mean, come on, be professional!
- And while you're at it, stop trying to manipulate us with similar phrases like "God Bless You." Gee thanks, that's just what I need: to be reminded that an omnipresent being who has the power to determine the course of my life, as well as my destiny for all eternity, is watching to see whether or not I help you out. I see what you're doing Mister Homeless Person and, believe me, for every ounce of guilt you can dish out, I've got a pound of rationalization to counter it with.
- Also, you should look crazy, but not too crazy. Not too long ago, my photo-sensitive glasses broke, so I had to wear my regular glasses. This wasn't enough to block out the sun, so I put a pair of regular sunglasses over them. One afternoon, I pulled up to the corner beside a homeless man, and he wouldn't stop staring at me. I thought, what is wrong with you? And then I realized he was staring at me because I was wearing two pairs of glasses, one on top of the other. It's pretty bad when even the homeless people think you're nuts.
So if you find yourself at an off-ramp sitting uncomfortably close to a homeless person and you want to help, but you're just not sure what to do, give a copy of this column to him. (I recommend printing out a dozen and keeping them in your glove box). It'll make you feel better, and you'll help him too! Plus, then nobody will think you are an insensitive bastard, which happens to me all the time. I don't know why.
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