I have a homeless friend, Tom, that lives on my corner who always has hysterical signs. His signs are so funny that I can't help but give him whatever singles are in my wallet. For some reason if it's singles, be it $1 or $20, I rationalize that I am not giving this man THAT much money. I also wondered that if he is creative enough to make such clever signs, is he really homeless?? Yes, I know, one thing really has no bearing on the other. And that was also before I learned his story.
Homeless Man Tom is so nice. Yesterday he helped me parallel park my car by guiding me into the spot and he is not that skivvy so I really don't mind if he plays a little bit with Parker. HMT's shtick with the signs is that he always has a clever saying relating to something in current events (last night's had to do with the Oscars so it referenced Brad Pitt) and then he turns his sign around and it says "What is the best nation? A Donation!" My homeless buddy is a Veteran who can't get a job anywhere and spends his days trying to earn enough money so that he can stay in some shady place off of Bowery that charges $20 a night, he says its better than the Bowery Mission.
HMT told me he was having a rough day yesterday, he only collected $5 out of the $20 he needed for that night. I only had $2 in my wallet thanks to my guy friends who so cleverly mooch off me that I ended up with nothing after our day in Hoboken on Saturday. Ahem, MS.
It's probably not safe to talk to the homeless, but I really feel badly. I wish I could give this man $20 a day. He talks about how he had to give up on being proud because he really has no other choice. His funny signs keep him going, they show that he tries to make light of his terrible situation.
I told him yesterday how I lost my keys for the 4th time since November. He laughed at me. Losing my keys 4 times and talking to this man about his life really puts things in perspective, ya know?
This is not to say that I am always so aware or considerate when it comes to the homeless. I can sometimes be so oblivious to their struggles. I actually saw a really long line outside of what I thought was a club and a happening party, until I looked a little closer and realized it was the Bowery Mission and I was wayyy off. It was kind of funny, but not really.
Moral of the story is to not always judge, some of these guys are in desperate need of a dollar or two. That little bit really goes a long way for them. HMT doesn't get mad or hurt if you don't give him money. He says G-d Bless to you whether you do or don't and really means it. This super nice homeless guy on my corner fought for our country and now he cant get hired anywhere and is begging for money on the streets. His sense of humor and real kindness through it all is truly something to admire. I don't know if I would be so fast to help a girl park her Mercedes and laugh at how SPAZZY she is that she lost her keys 4 times in 4 months...but he does.