If you have been reading my posts (and why wouldn’t you – you seem intelligent), you know I regularly give money to homeless people in downtown Roanoke. This year alone I have handed out a total of $7.00. However, I do much more than give pathetic misfits a dollar. I counsel them, so they can improve their lives. After all, money can’t buy happiness. It can only buy shelter, warmth, food, and medicine.
Today on Church Street, I encountered a filthy homeless man and decided to help. His steel-colored beard was long and wild. His pants and shirt were unfashionable and mismatched. He seemed unable to focus on what I was saying. Regardless, I forged ahead. I told him businesses all over town were hiring. He didn’t need to live like a greasy feral cat. Just as I was getting to the part about picking yourself up by your bootstraps, he turned and got on a rusty bicycle with flat, no-tread tires and rode away as fast as that decrepit thing could carry him.
I smiled at myself in relief. My tender heart is blind and prone to foolishness. I almost gave that charlatan a dollar. As you know, I only give money to homeless people. It’s my motto. Now call me old-fashioned, but I also prefer the homeless to be bikeless. There is just something intrinsically wrong about giving money to someone who has the ways and means of owning a bicycle.
Knowgood Carp, Owner of All the Hotels on Block Island (and Some in Connecticut)
Having recently given $5.00 to a homeless man near my office, I was shocked to see him today sitting in the same spot. How much money does a homeless person need? He’s homeless.
As I got closer I realized this was a different man. He just wore the same filthy clothes as the other guy. No one was around so I ignored him.
I got my iced coffee and headed back to the office. The homeless man was still there, but this time an attractive woman was walking towards me. I was prepared. I stopped in front of the homeless man and held out $2.00 (I had change this time). When he looked up, I saw a nasty gash on the bridge of his nose. It was still bleeding. Why was he getting into fights? He looked frail as a sparrow. He shouldn’t be starting fights.
He blinked in surprise but said, “thank you, brother.” I laughed because I don’t have a brother. “I’m Michael,” he rasped. “What’s your name?” I told him, “Joe.”
I was stunned. I couldn’t believe he had a name. I was so distracted the young woman walked by before I could waylay her and let her know how much I enjoy helping the wretched. The whole thing was a disaster.
Knowgood Carp, Owner of All the Hotels on Block Island and Some in Connecticut.
Every afternoon I get my iced coffee from Little Green Hive in Roanoke http://littlegreenhive.com. They have the best iced coffee in town. Usually I pass the same homeless man on my route, and sometimes he asks for money. He implies he may be hungry. I always say no, so he’ll learn to be self-sufficient.
Today, however, something was gnawing at my brain. An indecent proposal. What if I did give him money? What would happen? I had no idea.
On my way back, I passed him again. This time I handed him a $5.00 bill, because I didn’t have anything smaller. He looked up at me and said “Hey, bud, thanks a lot.” His voice was raspy as if the winter had been rough on him, but he sounded sincere. He also seemed to smile. I couldn’t see his mouth under his unkempt beard, but that powderpuff of gray hair did seem to shift upwards. His wrinkled blue eyes were twinkling as he took the money from my hand. His fingers were surprisingly warm.
I got back to my office, and I couldn’t get his smiling eyes out of my head. Still can’t. They were almost human. Of course, I washed my hands thoroughly.
Knowgood Carp, Owner of all the hotels on Block Island (and some in Connecticut).