Sunday, September 25, 2011

Just for fun he says "Get a job!"

Charles Pergiel ponders his feelings about bums, and the common human dilemma of compassion versus contempt for slackers.

Personally, the guy with the sign that read

Ninjas Killed My Family
Need Money For
Kung-Fu Lessons

has crossed the line from hobo to performance artist in my book, and would have earned his dollar by entertaining me, in much the same way as a trail-side busker with a saxophone.
.

16 comments:

Borepatch said...

That's a great song, where you got the title.

I saw the Ninja sign here in Austin, so there must be some sort of underground, passing around samizdat signs or something.

Alan J. said...

Agree, and +1 brownie points to the guy for his creativity. However, I always wonder if we're really doing any good at all - are we really helping someone or just assuaging our own conscience? After spending over 35 years of trying to rescue my own brother from sliding down the road of being an apathethic, lazy, dope-smoking teenager to being an alcoholic skid row bum - trust me, you will finally reach a point where you just don't care about the worthless, burned out old man any more; you just weep for the child that was lost decades ago.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Manhattan, 1987. Sign read "Save the Winos." Only guy I gave money to.

Garrett Lee said...

In Richmond, VA, a few years ago, I remember seeing a guy in the center median that had a sign that read:

Why Lie? I Want A Beer!

Quite humorous, in my opinion. Had I been in the correct lane, I would have given him a dollar for his honesty.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

I've always wanted to stand on the off ramp with a sign that said something to the effect of

"Competitive Pistol Shooter: Need money for ammo!"

I think I'd do well around here, and I would finally have enough money to compete.

Whitebread said...

If I'm ever homeless and begging on the side of the road, my sign will read "I bet you can't hit me a with a quarter."

Matt G said...

There was a time when I gave.
Then I got taken in by some hard-luck stories to the tune of $20 each (when I was a poor freshman and twenty bucks was my week's food budget). Then I got bitter and got mad whenever my friends would stop and give money to people begging.
Now? If my friends want to give, and the guy's not in my way or interfering with my life, I just don't care.

A busker who can really play will ALWAYS get a buck or what change I've got in my pocket; I wish that I could do that, and am amazed by them that can. How can I not encourage gifts toward those that help bring beauty into this world?

El Capitan said...

LOL, Whitebread!

Although that would be a lot more profitable up in Canuckistan, with the Loonies and Twoonies everyone uses.

Ed Foster said...

Gent in Manhattan last Christmas was wearing a sandwich board that said "Need money for booze and hookers. Hey, at least I'm honest".

He got three bucks and a handshake from me.

Jeff said...

Lots of this in Vegas. A number of these guys do it professionally, some of the guys working the main street corners (off the Strip) will probably make more than me in a day.

I generally don't give to any of them but I agree, there is a fine line between (fake) bum and performance artist.

I definitely have an affinity for the performance artist, hell I work for the circus, we were founded by a couple of Quebecois fire breathing stilt walkers.

AuricTech said...

I usually have some Clif bars in my glove compartment, in case of emergency. When I see a roadside panhandler, I toss out a Clif bar. That way, I know that the panhandler in question will, regardless of what else happens that day, be able to eat *something* that has some nutritional value.

jimbob86 said...

Professional Beggars, a la "Citizen of the Galaxy"? Life imitates art ..... or performance art imitates art .....or something..... I get SO confused .....

"If I'm ever homeless and begging on the side of the road, my sign will read "I bet you can't hit me a with a quarter."

My Evil Twin immediately quipped "Mehbee, mehbee not..... but I bet I could hit him with a quarter-bore!"

wv- "urnation" Those fellas are makin' so much they can't afford to take a break to find facilities .... besides, the smell lends credence to their "desperate circumstances" .......

Anonymous said...

Back when Martin Marietta had the big layoffs, there was a guy by the side of the main road to the plant with a sign that read: "Will build Missiles for Food"

Matt said...

A moment of levity is worth at least a buck, especially with a buck being worth less and less these days. So, for that matter, was the guy with the saxophone who used to play outside my office building most days. (He was always gone by the time I left, but if I went out for lunch, I'd generally drop a $5. He was the only thing about that particular job that didn't suck.) I don't think giving to either one is encouraging begging so much as it's compensating value received.

Anonymous said...

Now I am not visually lost when you mention the Monon, plus I found the Pergolator's blog. A three-fer, if'n you count smiles. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I used to take a class every summer in Cambridge (the original one, in England...)

There were various beggars and buskers there, but the one I always tried to give a little to was the guy who sat there playing really simple folk tunes on a battered tin whistle, really badly.

Buskers with real skill I give money to if I can and if I enjoy the style, as performance artists. Beggars I sometimes offer food to, on the grounds that if they're really in need they'll take it. This guy, however clearly had little to no real musical talent, but he decided to try and make the effort to perform for his pennies, rather than just sit there, even if he was no good. I thought that deserved 50 pence...