How much do panhandlers really make? Can you possibly make a living at this? How much of a difference does a funny sign make? Will people give to a guy in a banana suit? Does every sign have to say "God Bless?" Important questions. I aim to find the answers. Give me a dollar. God Bless.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The accidental panhandler

I worked as an MC for a travelling film festival for a few years. The job included flyering each town we'd go to. Chicago was my least favorite. I got there straight from California and had forgotten to bring a jacket. This sucked as Chicago is one of those places that actually has four seasons including a couple of real cold ones.
I found a great corduroy blazer in a thrift shop and I loved it. I was out handing out flyers to drunk college boys that night in my lovely new coat and several of them each handed me a dollar. When a fifth person offered me a buck I asked why people were giving me money.
"Aren't you out here asking for money?"
"No. I'm here promoting for a film festival."
"Oh! Well that can't pay much."
"Dude, they rent me an apartment, a car, fly me all over the country and I make money o'plenty."
This guy who'd intended to be generous then turned angry.
"Yeah! Then why the hell are you wearing that stupid coat!"
He left his dollar and moved on. I was handed three more dollar bills that day and did not protest. Wanting to be true to the lifestyle I'd found myself in, I spent the money on fortified wine.
I could use some wine now, but I dont' drink booze, so a soy cappucino will have to do as usual. Can you donate a few bucks? The donate key on the right side of your screen works fine! God Bless!


Anonymous Jason said...

I think people basically love comments.

12:51 PM

Blogger thepanhandler said...

I'm certainly no exception.

4:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Metafilter wants to give you a dollar.

9:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could maybe learn to play the spoons badly and wear a sombrero. Nothing racial intended by that. I just like the image.

9:29 PM

Blogger John Connors said...

Could you explain why a blazer could induce such behaviour? There must be some cultural reference this dim European is missing...

6:30 AM

Blogger thepanhandler said...

The blazer was curdoroy (sp?) out of fashion since the 70s, and had come out of a thrift store, so the cut and style just screamed that it was an old coat.
The idiot in the story, no not me, the other one, was not able to grasp the idea that I might enjoying wearing something that didn't come fresh from the shopping mall, and figured I had to be desperate.

7:08 AM

Blogger thepanhandler said...

You metafilter folks be sure to visit the front page,

7:48 AM


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