I’ve got a good job (despite all of my rants). It allows me quite a bit of flexibility and pays well. It’s a means to an end really, but it could be a lot worse. The unemployment rate in America is fairly high, and despite the numbers you see published by various government sponsored groups, it seems to go up and down a fair bit like a mild roller coaster running around 9 stories off the ground. Again, could be worse…could be Greece.
Note, if you aren’t paying attention to the happenings in Greece, you should. After all, it’s a great foreshadow of where the good ol’ US of A may be heading.
Like many of you, I am shown the “could be worse” situation almost daily as I exit a freeway and see the various signs of poverty:
- “Will work for food”
- “Help a Vet in Need”
- “Homeless Mom, help me feed my kids”
- “Please give me some cash so I can get some food that I can’t afford as I have to pay for this cell phone I’m yapping into while begging for money on the freeway exit ramp”
Ok that last one isn’t real a real sign, but I have been asked for money by a lady outside of a restaurant who claimed she couldn’t afford to feed her kids yet was talking into her cell phone. Needless to say I suggested she may want to dump the cell phone bill if she really can’t afford food. That earned me a dirty look.
I do have a lot of compassion for the downtrodden – sometimes people just need a little nudge to get them going. I don’t give them money though. No, I think that just enables some of the bad habits many of the homeless have. I think there’s a better way.
An example of how I help is when I’ve frequented my local Subway sandwich shop, there has been this guy out front who is clearly homeless. When he’s there I often get the 2 for 1 deal and give him the other sandwich.
Karma baby. Hopefully, I’ll never be in that situation, but if I am, I hope that Karma comes back to me.
I was out and about with Kid 2 recently and one of the exit ramp residents was there.
2 says to me – Dad, where do Hobo’s sleep (that’s one of 2’s favorite words – Hobo)?
Me – Well, sometimes at the shelter. Often on the street, in bushes, behind buildings, things like that.
2 – I think they should look for an empty house and sleep there.
2 – Dad, if I were a Hobo I’d go to Costco during the day and eat their free samples. It would be a good way to get food really.
Me – Yeah, but I doubt the Costco-Cops would allow a Hobo in the store.
A little while later…
2 – Dad, if I were a Hobo, I’d just go to the local swim pool whenever I needed a shower.
Me – I don’t think they’d let a Hobo go swimming just so he could get clean.
2 – No, I’d wait until they were closed, jump over the fence and get clean.
Me – Not a bad idea.
2 – Dad, I think it’s pretty smart that Hobo’s always have a dog with them to keep them company.
Me – Well, a lot of times they have a dog to protect them.
2 – Protect?
Me – Yeah, it’s not really safe on the streets. People are often trying to hurt them and steal from them.
2 – …<quiet>…You’d think Hobo’s would all just help each other. Anyway, I’d like a dog to keep me company. I love dogs.
And, so have gone the conversations in our car and walking down the street for the past 12ish months. When we exit freeways, walk into the grocery store, see someone pushing their double-wide grocery cart chock full of…stuff, I look over at 2 and can see the wheels churning in the head – “hmmm I wonder where I could keep all my Hobo stuff…”
A little while later…
Me – You’ve been putting a lot of thought into this Hobo thing haven’t you?
2 – Well Dad, it’s always good to have a plan.
Yes kiddo…It is always good to be prepared.
It could be a lot worse.