Pearl Street Mall, 7pm
Scene: A 20-something guy with dreads, walking around with a sign reading “Homeless. This Sucks.”
I’m not usually a “toss a dollar” kind of person, so I want to know what this guy is about. I chat with Ayo for a minute and decide that I’ll go talk to the sign guy, and if his story is sympathetic I’ll give him a good amount of cash.
Me: Hey man, I’d love to help you out but can I ask you a question first?
Sign Guy: Sure.
Me: What are you doing to try and make your situation better?
Sign Guy: Well… [thinks for longer than he should have needed] I was thinking about checking myself into a psychiatric hospital so they can certify that I can’t work. And, um, I need to get around to applying for food stamps.
Me: What’s stopping you from applying for food stamps? I can probably find an organization here that can help you apply.
Sign Guy: Well, I’m an alcoholic. Can you spare a dollar, man?
Me: Sorry, dude. Not unless you’re doing something to improve your situation.
Sign Guy: I’ll be honest: I promise I’ll spend it on whiskey.
Me: I’ll be honest: I don’t want to fund your whiskey habit. Good luck.
posted by yair