It would suck to be homeless in Denver right now. It’s goddamn cold. I do not give panhandlers anything for two reasons:
- I never carry cash or change. I am all about the cashless society written about in the book of Revelation.
- I prefer not to enable addiction. I am not saying all panhandlers are addicts, but a good number of them are and I would rather not be chipping in on a bottle of Thunderbird (unless they’re splitting it with me).
It is not to say that I am unsympathetic to the plight of downtrodden. Our society casts aside those that are mentally ill, unemployed and otherwise down on their luck. I look at the homeless and see tragedy. I am quick to remind myself that if I chose some different paths in life, I might be on that street corner self-medicating and begging for relief, too (whether it be in the form of cheap wine or a half-eaten meatball sandwich that someone tossed in the trash).
I do not ignore beggars like most people do. I acknowledge them, tell them no and go on about my business. I have had some funny exchanges with panhandlers over the years and here are but a few:
Beggar: Spare change, sir?
Beggar: C’mon, man.
Beggar: Do you not have any or do you not want to give me any?
Me: Pick one.
Beggar: I need a dollar, man. Give me a dollar.
Me: I do not have a dollar.
Beggar: …looks the future wife up and down… With a lady like that I can see why.
Beggar: …leans over railing of an outdoor cafe and points to my garnish… Hey man, are you gonna eat that?
Beggar: You are gonna eat that green stuff?
Me: Yes. It cleanses the palette.
Beggar: It also gets rid of cotton mouth.