Monday, September 23, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #21)


 By Daniel Canada c.2010


If you're taking up psychology, if you're taking up political science, fine. I don't give a hoot in hell if you're just meandering about in the dorms of the universities, studying liberal arts and don't have a fucking clue what in the hell you want to do for the next semester, or the rest of your life. But don't get the notion that you're so goddamned smart that you can outsmart a homeless person about being homeless. 

Ah! You know what I'm talking about? 

I’m talking about you college kids I see hanging around on street corners, sitting on the ground with cardboard signs, saying "I'm broke, and homeless, and need a few dollars to eat."

Yeah, that shit. 

As I walk down the streets of Fifth Avenue, or anywhere in the Mid-Town area of Manhattan, and run into these youngsters, I have to shake my head in disbelief. 

Where the Christ do they come from? 

Ok. I’m going to let you in on a little homeless secret. 

Most homeless people know each other. We're part of an unknown, underground "community." We eat at the same places, use the same public facilities, shower at the same places, and yes, sleep generally in the same areas. So homeless people in Manhattan , or the Bronx , or where ever they live, see each other all the time. Once in a while we'll even exchange pleasantries, or curse words, or just flip each other the bird in passing. But if we threw a stick in a crowd of homeless people, chances are the average “Skek” probably could name ninety-five percent of the ones the damned stick hit.

So, once again the question. Who in God's earth are these middle-class, suburban looking youngsters, fronting about on the sidewalks like they're homeless, and down and out?

Where the hell do they come from?

College, of course.

They're college students, engaging in some kind of undercover college study. Perhaps it's about homeless life in America, or demographics. I can't wait to see their thesis when it comes out! I hope they got all their facts straight, and they're gearing up to become lobbyist, to pressure congress to appropriate more funding for the homeless in America. 

Somehow, I just don't think that this is the case.

Racking my brain on this strange phenomenon, I was forced to entertain the thought that what I'm looking at is really not what I'm looking at. Let me explain my conjecture. If what I’m witnessing is not some new wave of middle-class, suburban, college kids, "slumming it out," to gather real-life facts about living out on the streets, then perhaps they are members of a secret fraternity.

That's right, a fra-ter-nity, for those of you who might be aghast at this declaration.

Maybe all this sitting in the back of cardboard boxes with handwritten signs, supplicating passersby for money, wearing less-than-persuasive cheap swag, and looking all down and out, is just part of a fraternity initiation process.

You know, a couple of college kids succumb to peer pressure. They want to be popular and to get laid. So they join the local college fraternity. Be it Alpha, Beta, or Sigmund Freudian Phi, most colleges have a fraternity and plenty of young men and women want to have the prestige of belonging to such a fraternal order. So they line up in mass to get their asses branded. It looks really cool at parties, and once again, it gets you laid.
(To be continued...)


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