Often when you walk past a panhandler, you expect a certain deal of uniformity. You expect the common lines, such as “Spare some change for food?” or “Got change, sir?” Occasionally you”ll see a sign, grease pencil on cardboard, denoting the hard times the homeless man or woman has experienced that led him or her to this lowly state. But one man is bucking these trends to disappointing results.
Instead of emanating the pity of the ever-hungry “Red Faced Old Lady Outside of Espresso Royale Caf,” the head-shaking insanity of “Guy at State and Huron Who Talks to Himself and Holds Out His Hat at People,” or the intimidation factor of “Fat Nightmare Santa With Shopping Bag and Sweat Pants,” the unfortunate drifter who sits between NYPD and GNC only gives off a sense of indifference, and even contempt.
His panhandling line of choice is a slurred, esoteric cross between “Got a dollar or somethin”?” and “Got a dollar, suh?” No matter what he”s saying, a dollar is a lot to ask from notoriously broke college students what, man, you don”t want our change? When you don”t give up the required dollar, the only response you get is silence, never the soul affirming “God bless you,” or “have a nice day.”
The hobo fails on numerous criteria. When this reporter responded to his pitch with “No, but I can buy you a slice of pizza. Are you hungry?” the slovenly gray-bearded wretch ignored me. When I repeated my offer, he said “Nah, mayn.” I made my way towards State Street, but then turned around seconds later. When I passed him again, he asked me again for dollar, seemingly not noticing, or not caring, that I had just been there, that he had just asked me for a dollar or something. No matter if he didn”t hear or didn”t care, it represented an unconscionable lack of attention to his craft.
In the panhandling major leagues, “Homeless Man Between NYPD and GNC” is strictly bush league. Unless he cleans up his act, and fast, he will no doubt find himself rotting in the same spot for another four years.