(Originally written Thursday, May 25, 2006)
Sure are a lot of hungry people in the world. Ever notice that? Poor people too. Man, they're everywhere. This makes me sad. I'm not saying I have it so great, (I am in the army after all) but I still, literally, have it better than billions of people. Where am I going with this? Well, never let it be said there wasn't at least, (at most really) one altruistic bone in my body.
I think that we should go forth into the world and make it a better place for everybody. And even though I'm an American, (though not as patriotic as I should be) I don't believe that making the world a better place means forcing my idea of peace and democracy upon the unfortunate natives of varied and foreign lands.
Nope, the policy of our insane, yet well-meaning, (they mean to become richer at the expense of everybody else) American government, is not my policy. I am a firm believer that charity starts at home. My home to be exact. Give me money!
Seriously though, I'm sure that no matter what part of the country, (I'm guessing all the readers live in America, I don't think Eighty-Four Glyde has gone global yet, but next time you're in a seedy hostel in eastern Slovakia drop my name and they'll give you the Eli Roth special package) there's at least one area where poor people are forced to reside, (if you're living in the Midwest and you're reading this column, you're probably one of those people, I'm looking in your direction Ohio!)
"Why don't these poor people just get jobs?" Those less intelligent and thoughtful of you might be asking. "Why don't you stop being so ugly and stupid you ugly stupidhead?!" I might eloquently respond.
Some people are way to glib. Wanna hear something that's funny in its pitifulness? After Katrina hit, one person asked me why all the poor black people didn't leave. I said it was because they were too poor to afford the means of transportation to get their black asses the hell out of the way. She said that they shouldn't have been poor.
I pondered this. According to her logic, because a person is poor, that person deserves to be at the mercy because they didn't have the foresight. Interesting isn't it?
I did the whole homeless thing once. Just for a little while. It wasn't fun. I had no money for food. Every so often I'd go to a pay phone call up a pizza joint and have them deliver a pizza to a house where I would sleep in the stone cellar, (that cellar, by the way, is where the owners of the house would let their dog do its business. They never bothered to house-train the damn thing, they'd just throw it in the cellar until it was finished). I'd pay by check because I knew that by the time it bounced I'd have eaten the pizza. Luckily, because of our capitalist society, competition in the home-delivery pizza market is quite healthy. I never had to call the same place twice and risk being caught.
Because I couldn't afford to eat three times a day I had to hide the pizza in the coolest place I could find, (did I mention that all of this took place during the damn hottest summer I've ever experienced? Hottest before coming to Iraq that is.) and visit it periodically to eat.
I had no electricity and therefore couldn't keep cool during the heat of the day. The best thing I could do was to sit in the stifling and smelly basement. I also had limited access to water, and changes of clothes, so let's just say I was a bit aromatic myself.
On the other hand, being homeless gives you plenty of free time. I got a library card and spent as much time in the air-conditioned building as they would tolerate. And although I wasn't 21 yet, I could sometimes get my hands on some wine, (amazing how bums love to drink the wine, isn't it? I couldn't really stand the stuff myself, but it gave me something to do with all that wonderful free time I had) to pass the time.
Anyway, my point is, that although I was homeless and not simply poor, I would have had a damn hard time trying to flee the city if a killer hurricane was on it's way.
So next time you pass by a homeless person sunning himself on the street, don't give him any money, he's just going to waste it on Thunderbird Wine. Give it to me instead, because I think those goons from Dominos' and Pizza Hut are finally closing in, and I don't know if I can cover all those damn pepperoni pizzas I bought.
And after all, since charity does begin at my home, I'll be glad to give you directions.