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My Daddy is the best!
Previous | Next by adrienne 18 April, 2003 - 5:37 AM

This is part of a letter that my StepDad wrote me this morning. I'm posting it because it makes me proud to have been raised by him. I realize that this is the largest piece of cheese I've jammed down your throat thus far, but it touched me deeply so you have to read it too.

On a somewhat related note, for the first year that I worked
here, I'd pass two or three panhandlers every day on my way
to picking up a sandwhich for lunch. One of them is at the
very least very excentric; he always wears this big Mexican
sombrero as he asks for change. Anyway, I knew that I couldn't
give everybody money every day, but as time went on I felt
guilty passing these people and not giving them anything.

I should mention that the panhandlers in this area are
*very* polite. They don't force themselves on you, they
wish everybody that passes a nice day, and a big thank you
when they get something.

One day there was a single panhandler out. I gave him a
dollar. I felt much better. Since then I resolved that
when I pass by I'll always give the first panhandler I
see a dollar. I can spare a dollar a day. I don't care
if these people are crazy, homeless, alcoholics or what.
If they have the need to be on the street begging for
spare change, I'll give them a dollar.

Over time, many of the panhandlers have gone away. There's
one in particular, though, that is usually out even on
the coldest of winter days. He greets me every time I
walk by and might even chat a little. He's obviously not
crazy, and does have relatives in the area (he mentioned
to me one day about some distant relation being shot
by the police. I knew who he meant because I read about
it in the paper..), but for whatever reason is sometimes

One day last winter, I walked along and was feeling kind of
down myself, and I don't know if he sensed this, but he
asked me, "Man, you know, I could really use a hug. Would
you mind giving me a hug?" I was glad to, both for his
sake and mine.

People say that you shouldn't give panhandlers any money,
as it just encourages them more. My take on things is that
it is a good thing that the homeless be out and visible,
and in the face of the people that would rather just pretend
that there's not a problem.


4/18/2003 >> muhgcee

My take on this is that when you see the same people in the same place every single day doing nothing but asking for money, don't you think they could spend that time trying to make something of themselves? I understand if you are in hard times and need a little financial assistance from passers-by for a week or so to get some food and maybe some warm clothes, but isn't there a point when you are able to help yourself rather than begging for help?

4/18/2003 >> ralph

Wow, that's quite touching, and it's actually something that I've been thinking quite a bit about lately. I'm currently reading "The Mole People" by Jennifer Toth. It's all about the homeless in NYC that are living below ground. It's really a quite touching book that shows the sense of community between these people and gives you an idea of the struggles that they have to go through. I recommend it highly.

My attitude towards the homeless has changed recently, much like your stepfather's. I used to be quite hardnosed towards them; I never gave them money and usually wouldn't acknowledge them. Now, I am not opposed to giving them a buck or two to make their life a little more bearable. They're people who, for one reason or another, are really down on their luck and have nothing left. Sure, a very high number are suffering from mental illness and/or addiction, but that doesn't mean that they're bad people. They're still human and they just need help. The question is, how are they to get that help?

Your stepfather sounds like a good man, and you should be proud of him.

4/18/2003 >> spike

hear hear dren! esp the number of women that are one man away from welfare and homelessness. I mean the number of families who are homeless is asatounding and sick for such a wealthy nation. Thats way the comments i made in the prior post form that rather wealthy individual pissed me off so. The disconnect between how much wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few and how that very concentration of wealth leads to such epidemics are homelessness and abject rampnat poverty is disturbing to say the least. Then to blame the many in this nation that either cannot afford to 'help themselves' or are impeded by the inner workings of the system when they do attempt to find ways in which to help themselves blows my fucking mind.

Just to take the mentally ill homeless, the fact that Regan cut aid to mental hospitals boosted the homeless rate of veterans, mainly vietnam vets, and others who were just thrown out on the street because Regan wanted to fund Star Wars above the mentally ill and other needy people of the nation.

Just look at the shit Ehrlich is pulling now where he is threating to cuts major public service aid just to win a pissing contest and show how tough he is. Well when the number of children going to emergency rooms because CHIP is cut jumps dramatically or when the elderly start dying because their food aid was cut or when your trash is being picked up in a timely manner (to show how this will affect the middle class as well) just because that ass of a governor wont raise the income tax rate 1 fucking percent on those making 150,000 or more, we shall see the wonderful politics of republicans and their small government bullshit at work and see how badly it does work for the people and yet continues to give to the wealthy.

4/18/2003 >> sarah

it's great when your parents surprise you or react in a way that makes you proud and you realize that you're mature enough to be proud of you parent(s).

a few years ago my dad popped down to DC b/c i was heading there for a conference and had a day to kick around. we ran around town, hit a few museums, and then i took him to the place in Dupont Circle that has the restaurant that you walk through the book store to get through (can't remember the name, but they have yummy fish).

my dad's a homebody, is relatively conservative, and has lived in small towns for almost all of his life. so when he holds the door open for this black guy in bondage gear without batting an eye as we walk into the book store i was proud. i know it's a minor thing, much more minor than the great story you've shared, Dren, but we don't get many guys on the street in bondage gear where i come from...

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