I very much agreed with and enjoyed your commentaries about the “poor”. I just thought I’d share my favorite “poor” dude story for your entertainment and confirmation. There used to be a “will work for food” sign guy standing at an intersection in our town. He also had the “vietnam vet” message prominently displayed on the sign, obligatory in the South because we love our soldiers. He stood at the intersection every day with his ratty gym bag beside him, leaning heavily on crutches because his right leg is missing below the knee. I saw a lot of people give him money. He was, as they always are, strategically positioned at the red light.
Now here is the funny part. My husband and I used to go to a bar a 1/2 a block away and have a beer after work occasionally. We were sitting in there one afternoon when “poor” dude crutches on up to the bar, yanks a wad of ones out of his pants pocket, and orders a drink. And while he’s waiting for his drink, he takes his prosthetic leg out of the ratty gym bag, straps it on, and loses the crutches. I looked over a some guys sitting next to us and said, “What the hell?”
And they said, “He’s here everyday. As soon as he has enough money….”
The bar closed a couple of years ago. Shockingly, I haven’t seen “poor” dude since, with or without his amazing, disappearing leg. You’re right. The poor will always be with us and we will always want to beat them about the head and shoulders with their prosthetic leg.
Thanks for your comments. I like people saying the obvious. I especially enjoy the venom coming from people who say they care.
St Paul said let those who don’t want to work not eat. He recognized the corrosive effect that freeloaders could have on good, generous people. I actually experienced such a situation.
In the 80’s the town where I live hit hard times. There wasn’t much work, the construction industry basically non existent, forestry jobs disappearing, etc. High interest rates, recession, massive restructuring in the economy. Myself and the group of friends made do. We helped each other get firewood. We did work that was available, not what we wanted to do. We had gardens. We
didn’t spend money on liquor and cigarettes. We did things for widows and older people. etc. Not paradise, or even happy. Unemployment is hard to deal with.
But some recognized an opportunity. Some came because there was this strong support group, but brought nothing except need and demands. It was interesting. Generous and kind people started not being generous and kind. All of a sudden the idea of not being taken advantage of became important, for the simple reason that people were taking advantage of the kindness of others.
Let those who don’t want to work not eat. Very simple.
I remember very clearly the outrage coming from a friend who, as a businessman during the economic downturn had lost money and avoided bankruptcy only because he refused to not pay his debts. He was working one day at a subsidized housing complex doing some repairs. At around 2PM a guy his age wandered out onto his deck in his pyjamas and lit up a joint.
This friend was generous to the extreme. A mutual friend had gotten severely injured in a work accident, and he travelled 16 hours return trip almost every weekend to visit him in hospital. And this over a year and a half.
I have become very hard on this. Let those who don’t want to work not eat.