Thursday, December 28, 2006

Crackhead Haiku

It's obvious the holidays are here. No, I'm not talking about the fact that the Evil Empire starting putting up Christmas decorations since Labor Day. No, I'm not talking about suburbanites trying to "out-tacky" one another with gaudy lights all over their homes. It's more like the scourge of my morning walks have come out in force the last few days. Yes, my friends ... the homeless have been honing in on me more than ever. They're everywhere this week. It's as if they're taking full advantage of the holiday spirit replete with Santa hats and more pathetic than a George Bush press conference without pre-screened questions.

What I've decided to do is to compile a list of my favorite approaches and excuses used to extort change from me:

1. The I'm Going Somewhere Approach: This is a two-fold approach: 1) the sad sack face that it trying to convey the desperateness of their plight and 2) the story of where they're trying to get to. The standard approach is like this:
"Hey man, (cue pitiful face conveying some sort of emotion), I'm trying to get to (insert any of the following: mom's/sister's/brother's house; a shelter; out of town). I just (insert story here such as just got out of jail; got my wallet stolen; etc.). I just need some change to get me there or whatever you can spare."

I actually once tried to give a guy a valid subway pass I used on the Atlanta rail system. The guy just looked at the pass and was completely befuddled. He didn't know what to do. He prattled on about how he needed the cash more and wouldn't take the pass.

2. The Pitiful Look Approach: This is for the older or lazy homeless. Basically, this is just sitting there with the pitiful look waiting for someone to drop change. Some may couple this with a cardboard sign, stacking personal belongings nearby, or a dog on a piece of rope.

One day as we were walking out to lunch, one of my co-workers spotted one person using this approach. She stopped and said,"Wait a minute ... I know her!!" Turns out this person was married and living in the same complex as my friend. Apparently bumming change can be quite profitable.

3. The Nice Guy Approach: I get this one alot. A person will come way out of their way towards you smiling as if they've got some great news for you. This approach nearly always starts the same:

"How are you, sir/ma'am? Can I ask you a question?"

At this point you've got to cut them off or else they start going on and on. The first "no" is never enough; you almost always have to tell them that you simply don't have any change a couple of times.

4. Crazy/Smelly Approach: This one is simple. This person either reeks so horribly or is just so fucking crazy that you'll do anything to get them away from you ... like give them a buck or two. This one is extremely popular in downtown Atlanta restaurants like Subway or in a deli. I've seen this one work where the person walks in and starts rummaging through the trash in the store.

This post really has nothing to do with haiku's, but I thought the words "crackhead" and "haiku" just sounded really good together. I hope this post doesn't sound cruel; I just needed to vent about what I've been going through the past week.


Chelle said...

Question: if panhandlers need money for food, to go somewhere, etc... where do they have money to buy Santa hats?

Cincysundevil said...

I think it's a conspiracy by some well-meaning folk who figure if they give them a Santa hat, we'll all be more inclined to give money.