I realized last night as I was walking into CVS that I’m a liar. It’s not what you think though. I’m an honest man, but there’s one section of society that forces me to lie.
Allegedly homeless, jobless people who stand at the corner of intersections and outside of 711 and CVS asking me if I can spare some change. In my county there is someone on just about every major corner. They walk back and forth, with a sign and a cup, sometimes a cane, or a limp, or crutches, or even a wheelchair, taking advantage of people’s good will and guilt at the left turn lanes.
I used to give. The first few months after I first saw someone on a corner with a “work for food” sign maybe a decade ago. Then the phenomenon exploded. It seemed like I kept seeing the same people on the same corners everyday. Every time I went somewhere, someone wanted my money. Every night when I’d drive home from work, there they were. I just couldn’t give anymore.
I want to help my fellow man. I want positive Karma in my Karma bank, but there’s just no way to distinguish those who could really use my help from those who make a living taking money from strangers.
So here’s the lie. I always tell them I have don’t have any cash, only credit. I know I’m telling a lie, and I tell it anyway. So you’re thinking “no big deal”, right? But it is to me. I hate having to feel like I have to lie. I suppose I could be honest and say something like “I don’t want to give you my change because I think you actually live in a better neighborhood than me and that limp you’ve got is fabricated. ” I don’t think that would go over very well, so I lie.
I sometimes think that if there is a god, and if he wanted to test people, sitting in a wheelchair outside of CVS at 9pm asking for change might be a good way to do it. I hope he understands my predicament.
Here are some of the regulars in a 2 mile radius in Wheaton. It took me less than 15min to find and photograph them.