Weird title, I get it. The following story is probably going to be a little depressing but I will try my best to end on a good note.
I drive a little more than usual cause sometimes my job has me going towards the other side of town or just far in general and sometimes I run errands and I end up being on the road longer than anticipated. Usually when I drive, I will spot a dead squirrel in the middle of the road and I’ll feel horrible cause my nature is empathetic and I just mourn for the dead animal. Also cause I attended a University for 2 years, where Squirrels would run rampant all the time and eat acorns in front of you and wouldn’t give a shit if you were staring or not (unlike my hometown where they’d freak out, asshole squirrels) Funny cause I’m back in my hometown and talking about how I feel bad that they’re dead and I’m over here calling them assholes.
Anyways, lately, I’ve seen some other dead animals on the side of the road and I feel just as horrible cause I’m an all-around animal lover. No I’m not a vegetarian though and it’s not cause I don’t like vegetables or I’m a hypocrite, it’s just I don’t kill the animals and I just– I don’t know, I believe it but I’m not gonna let it get in the way of my happiness, okay?
Anyways, two thoughts come to mind whenever I see dead animals on the side of the road. The first one I’m sure most people feel or at least think it and the second, some people will call me an asshole for. The first thought is: “My goodness, what a travesty. This is horrible, how could one of God’s creatures suffer like this. And these fucking vultures and parasites just feasting on the innards of this poor creature, hasn’t the little guy suffered enough you sons of bitches? If I wasn’t busy I’d like to give them a proper burial” And the second thought is: “Aw shit, someone needs to get that poor thing off the road, and clean it up. Do I have to do it? Fuck that, I’m no mortician, could you believe me stopping my car in the middle of traffic and trying to pick it up, what if a guy rear-ends my car, then how the hell am I gonna get to work? Cause of the damn squirrel, and wait why am I so worried about the dead squirrel, he’s not my friend. If we were, how come he never called to grab a drink with me or play hoops? Plus I’m sure none of his squirrel friends are going to watch me do this and ever have my back and then I end up getting my own little entourage of squirrels that are willing to protect me when shit goes down. Yeah, that won’t happen, plus I gotta be at this place by a certain time, if I’m late and tell them my reason they won’t believe me, ‘Hey Ahmed, what took you so long?’ ‘I saw this dead animal on the side of the road and I decided to give it a proper burial.’ ‘oh damn dude, did you hit it?’ ‘No, it just hurt my heart to see it.’ ‘(sarcastic) Yeah, right’ ‘No, I really did.’ ‘(weird look) What are you, a homo?’ Yeah, I’d rather avoid that, so might as well keep driving.”
The other thing I’ve been seeing a lot of lately is when I’ve been driving to places, like to and from work or to the bank, I’ve been seeing a crazy amount of homeless people on the side of the road and of course, who doesn’t see that anyway? But it’s unbelievable because the stereotype for homeless people is that they’re just putting on an act and playing upon the sympathy of people who give them money who have the thought in mind that they’re helping someone in need but often times, the homeless person is really just being handed more money than they already have. And with that in mind, why are there more than one homeless people on each intersection if it’s all an act?
Let me explain: I was at a red-light leaving work and I saw a homeless person on the left side of me, I did my best to ignore him and then when the green light finally came up, I drove away from him. I was quickly approaching another light however and I had to make a left but to my right you can clearly see another homeless person holding a sign and he’s begging for change. These two men are not too far from each other, yet are asking for change and if one of them is NOT putting on an act, why doesn’t the other have the heart to go, “Ahh shit, this guy’s actually homeless, what am I doing?” Am I saying that these two men are both in fact homeless or are they both putting on a show? I’m saying neither, nor am I saying we need to find a solution. I mean it would be nice to find a solution but I’m not gonna sit here and type up a proposal on what we can do to fix the homeless because I truly don’t know so as of this moment, I’m just bitching about seeing so many homeless people on the side of the road lately.
I feel bad sometimes because I don’t give them change. Sometimes I do have change but I tell them no if they ask me, and why? Growing up I was told various things by certain people which makes me hesitant even to this day. I remember my 4th grade science teacher (who in hindsight probably should have been teaching instead of giving 10 year old’s a fucking lecture on something that we really didn’t need to learn) saying that she gave some money to this homeless man at a gas station and wound up seeing the same guy come back with a Cadillac Escalade.
I can’t say I’ve ever been a victim of such deception but I did feel crappy one time when I felt sympathy for a guy that looked and definitely acted homeless. I was working in the deli-area of a grocery store and this scrawny, tattooed old man came up to the counter wanting some fried chicken for him and “his dog” (I don’t know why I put the dog in quotations, he was talking about an actual canine, just don’t read too much into it) so as I’m filling up this bag of fried chicken, he was telling me he hadn’t eaten all day and upon hearing that, the right side of my brain went, “Aw this poor guy, maybe I should throw in a couple extra pieces for free” and then the left brain immediately went, “And while I’m at it, let me fire up my resume cause I’m risking my job if I do just that.” I didn’t do it, but then when ever I told him how much it was gonna be, what made me feel crappy was when he pulled out a wad of cash that was neat and cleanly folded and by one glance, I could tell it was not of 1’s or 5’s. At that moment, not only was my sympathy taken away, but I was also taken back to the scene in the movie I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka, where Chris Rock plays a homeless teenager and goes inside this BBQ restaurant and asks Isaac Hayes “How much for 1 rib?” (Not 1 rack of ribs, just A rib) and then tries negotiating prices for drinks like, “How about you pour the drink in my hand for a dime?” and then whenever Chris Rock has to pay he goes, “You got change for a hundred?” Get the fuck outta here.
I’m getting a little off topic, the thing is that how does one get to that point in life where they’re content with begging strangers for change. You’d think some people would have to have some self-respect to keep yourself from doing that, but these guys apparently don’t. And neither did this one guy I saw who actually held a sign that said, “I betcha can’t hit me with your quarter”. Three thoughts came to mind, the first one was sympathetic saying, “Come on man, I don’t know you but don’t stoop this low just for a damn quarter. Have some sort of dignity.” The second thought was, “What are you betting against exactly, Mr. Homelessman? Does the other party win a prize if they beat you with this quarter, you don’t seem to be gaining anything from this except maybe learning to control your reflexes so you can dodge a series of quarters being thrown at you.” The third was me reaching into what would be the ash tray of my car if I smoked cigarettes but since I don’t, I use it to hold change and was picturing me reaching for some quarters and throwing each one at him to see if I could actually hit him and thereby making him regret ever making this challenge because I would be the winner in that situation even though he will then have all my money. It would be at that moment I’d count in my head how much I threw at him and shout at him that he owed me X amount of quarters. Of course, I have a guilty conscience so I wouldn’t do such a thing. I do like how he said quarters and not dollars cause throwing a dollar will not go very far. But a quarter will go far, and if you throw a good amount of quarters he’ll actually be able to spend that money. Cause if someone throws a couple dimes at you, there’s almost nothing you can do with it. At least with 4 quarters you can buy yourself a sandwich. So in retrospect, the guy is using a pretty good marketing technique, leaving me to believe this man is not as ignorant as we claim him to be and if he’s smart, he must have some money, so he’s one of the fake homeless people (probably, I can’t prove it).
After writing all this, I don’t remember my point in what I was trying to make about these homeless people and dead animals I’ve been seeing while I drive. I just needed to rant I guess. Thanks for reading it and hopefully next time you drive and you see a homeless person with a sign that says “Bet you can’t throw a quarter at me” don’t accept his challenge. Leave your change for the guys with the “God Bless You” sign cause those are the ones who won’t spend the money in the wrong places, right?
Written on the 30th of December at 7:41 P.M.