May 2004 (v6 i6)
Going down in elevators since 1997
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Please feed me
by Randolph Booter, The Educated Hobo

Excuse me good sir, might you be so kind as to spare some change so that I might purchase a morsel or three of sustenance? You see, Iíve been living in this back alley for the past two weeks now, and as you can tell, Iím quite famished.

I realize you might have some qualms about giving such an uncouth rapscallion as myself some cash, but Iíd like to inform you that Iím different from all the other ďhobos.Ē At this point, a regular homeless person would be employing a pathos appeal by forcing you to stare into the eyes of his scraggly yet adorable canine, but thatís just not my style. Iím more of a fan of engaging a future ďclientĒ in conversation regarding politics, ballroom dancing, or burlesque lithographs before I ask for money. For me, itís all about the customer. But rest assured Iíll understand if you say no.

If I were in your strapless Birkenstocks, I would certainly walk by, avoiding eye contact in order to maintain my air of superiority. Then again, Iím the vagrant, not you.

But back to the business at hand ó you were about to give me some money.

Why donít I seek employment? Sir, thatís like asking a Mississippi native not to be racist. Impossible! You see, itís not as if I chose to be a bum ó being a bum chose me. Consider it my calling.

Laugh if you will, but back in the day, being a vagabond was considered a romantic ideal. In fact some of the greatest figures in literary history were bums: Emerson and Thoreau, for example.

Creating some of the greatest literary works of all time, these writers stood in solid protest of the atrocity that was the Korean War. Their barely functioning grist mills could hardly fund the galactic bribes demanded by beings that vibrate on the 87th parallel otherwise known as the Masonic League.

However, you are correct in saying that while these writers had a great influence on society, I am, unashamedly, under the influence most of the time. I canít deny that I do occasionally crave the booze, but that is neither here nor there. Convincing you to hand over your hard earned change is much more important to me.

I know that there are better ways to earn money than lazily demanding it from complete strangers, but sir, that is not the hobo way. You see, not unlike the Knights of the Round Table, we hobos consider ourselves followers of an idyllic lifestyle that must follow a certain noble creed.

The Hobo Creed is a legendary, sacred code of ethics that can never be divulged unto any commoner who does not give me a quarter.

Yes, I will accept a dime. Thank you.

Now if you really wish to live your life in the style of a bum, you must repeat after me: I solemnly swear to be the most self-governing, soap-resistant, substance-dependent hobo I can be, and I shall proceed with every matter of life, no matter how large or small, in the most illogical manner possible.

Your silence tells me that you do not desire to join the rank of my fellow vagabond brethren. That is an understandable choice. Why descend from atop your perch on the consumerist pedestal when you could just as well continue spending eight dollars on soy lattes and scented candles?

But alas, you will never know the simple pleasures we vagrants enjoy. You will never know that ever prevalent musk that I often encounter after awakening in a dumpster behind a KFC. You will never realize the freedom that comes with not paying taxes or having a boss. You will never understand the bond that exists between my bum chums, that could only be broken if half a container of bug spray and a filter were at stake. And, alas, you will never know...

Sir, I wasnít finished speaking.
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