Monday, December 18, 2006

Impertinent Bums

I'm walking out of David's bagels and outside is this really fat black man in a wheelchair. "Got a dollar?" he asks.
"No, sir" I say back. I do not to add, "Sorry," because inevitably the homeless or the beggar or the crackhead will say, "You ain't sorry!" and truth be told, I'm not sorry. I've learned just a simple no is best.

However, it's "that time of year" again, and of course this fat man in a wheelchair is wearing a Santa hat, which must be covering up the halo. "You're mean." he says to me.

I look at him and think he's probably in that electronic wheelchair because he's too fat to walk. I also think it's my taxes that subsidize his government housing on Avenue D, near where I live. In fact, it was probably his kids that jumped me latenight last winter at my door. But because it's "holiday time," him and his Santa hat think they have the right to extort guilt. Suddenly if I don't fork over a dollar, I'm Ebenezer Scrooge.
"What do I owe you?" I ask him.
"You're mean," he repeats saint-like, "And you've got to live with that."

I'm mean? This reminds me of bible school, where you're taught to feel guilty for "original sin." If they win, you'll feel guilty all your life: enough to worship and tithe regularly, and to stop thinking for yourself. I want to flip the beggar off. Actually, what I want is to take his wheelchair and his martyrdom and push it into the East River. Instead I let out a shrill laugh, and then I cackle maniacally for all of 1st Avenue. "HO HO HO!"

Live with that.

No comments: