I'm a Banana... Gimme Money. God Bless
I went out panhandling today with a film crew. They hid in the bushes most of the day. I didn't want their presence affecting people reactions. It was fun seeing the responses of folks who did see the camera crew though. I think they thought it was candid camera or some simmillar "reality" show. And I guess it is, sort of.
Of course it was even more fun seeing how people reacted to me being dressed as a giant banana. I went through lots of clever banana puns, "I find your money quite a-peel-ing", "Why not SPLIT a couple of bucks with me? It would help a BUNCH" but in the end I went for a more direct approach:
Of course no one would be able to make out the long website address, but just it's presence on a carboard sign cracks me up to no end.
When I first got on the offramp folks did the usual, "I can't see, you. I can't seeee you." which is pretty funny. How do you not see a bright yellow banana. But, the next batch of folks to sit at the red light were laughing and smiling. people were really getting into it. It's funny to see somebody look at me, and not know how to react, then look at the car next to them, and upon seeing someone else laughing, they join in and have a good chuckle. Strange how so many of us need guidance even when it comes to how to respond to something silly. I guess it is conflicting though, as the sign guys normally elicit a different set of emotions. It was great to see so many peole getting a laugh, and some folks gave full on belly laughs. I love that. As a comedian, this is the best thing I've ever done.
The first woman to give me money told me it was specifically because of the "God Bless" written on my sign. I TOLD you that was important.
Of course she only gave me a quarter. Not saying much for your religion lady. I bet I could've gotten her to throw in another quarter if I'd shown her my socks.
I can't wait to try out my "Atheist. Please help. God Bless." sign.
I interviewed another carboard signer named Jackie. She claimed she could make about fifty bucks in an eight hour day, but we only saw her panhandle for about 10 minutes, and get nothing. Eight hours seems like it would just be impossible. Today I did about a half hour at one offramp and about twenty minutes at another, and it was tough. It's hot, and your legs get tired. The worse thing though, is that it's mind numbingly boring, less so when you're dressed like a banana of course.
I was amazed to find out Jackie believes in the legend of the carboard signer going home to a nice house and claims to have witnessed it. I asked her how they were getting more money than her, since her fifty bucks in eight hours would hardly afford a nice house. She said she had no idea, but they were alcoholics too. Hmmmm.
I only got a few hostile responses. One "Get a job", one "Faggot" and one little kid out the back window of a king cab pick up truck, "You're a loser. Why don't you get a real job?" His mother seemed to approve of him berating stangers. Sweet folks.
I also had a car full of guys three lanes away ask me to come get the money, but they weren't holding out any money. I told them I was too afraid. They flashed me a peace symbol and kept going. I got lots of peace symbols, and quite a few gang signs too.
I took a call on my cell phone. So I'm there, on an offramp, with my carboard sign, and I'm on talking on a cell phone. That was funny enough, but funnier still that it was my mom. She asked what I was doing and I told her the truth, "Mom, I'm on an freeway offramp begging for money." "Get off of the freeway and GO HOME!" Oh my poor suffering mother. That she didn't for a second think I might be kidding makes me so proud.
Despite my mother's urging, I wanted to keep at it longer but a cop came along and told me I had to move. I talked to the cop, on camera, and he explained that it's illegal to stand within' 150 feet of a freeway offramp. I asked what would happen if I stayed put, and he said he'd have to give me a ticket, and if he found me there a third time today he'd have to arrest me. He was actually pretty nice and I can't wait to put up the picture of him shaking hands with the banana.
I figure, between the first spot, where I was for 30 minutes and took in six bucks, and the second spot where I was for 20 minutes and took in 3 bucks, I averaged about $10.50 an hour. Only slightly less than I'm making now at my day job. I have no doubt that as I get better at this I can make more doing this than I'm making working, but I still highly doubt that anyone is living in a mansion, and sleeping between silk sheets after a day on the offramp. Especially since most folks arent dressing up, etc. It'll be interesting to see if I make more when I don't do anything creative and just try to look needy and helpless.
By the way, I'm panhandling on line too. Show me that the internet community is more generous than the Christian motorist community by giving me a couple of bucks would ya? Lots of dontate buttons to your right there. God Bless! >>>>>
Note: The pictures were taken outside my house yesterday as I prepared to walk to the freeway offramp. Pictures from the offramp will be up after the guys taping me generate some stills.