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.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Crrrrrrrrrazy Day

Today I went out with the camera crew, which I generally do on Sundays. Morken (the head film geek) wanted a different setting, so despite my protests I carboard signed it on a new offramp. I used my "Big Bills Okay! I Can Make Change. Please Help, God Bless." sign. I got nothing. Twenty minutes and nothing. Not a damn dime.

This surfer looking guy rides up on his bike and tells me that I don't know what I'm doing. He says he can show me how it's done so I give him the offramp and the guys continue shooting. He starts knocking on peoples windows! ! ! I can't believe it. When people roll the window down he stick his head practically in their car and hits them up for change. He's not doing much better than I was and he has no tenacity. Less than five minutes later he's off the offramp giving us the weirdest interview we've gotten yet. He says he's been a pro cyclist and traveled to 18 countries, but his friend got murdered and he broke up with his girl and now he's found the answers to lifes questions on the streets, but he's ready to leave the streets, but he's not homeless. He confesses to being a crack addict and says he spends between $80 and $100 a day on crack, most of which he makes panhandling.

He invites us to film him spare changing at the AM/PM so we follow him over there. He repeatedly berates me for thinking I could make any money in a banana suit. He keeps calling me an amateur. He's a pretty agressive panhandler and within a few minutes he pushes a guy too far, though honestly he hadn't been all that agressive with this guy, just tapping on his window and saying have a good day after the guy turned him down (which you can see in the picture.) The man, we'll call him Insano (in the orange shirt and cap), comes flying out of his van with fists ready to swing. The panhandler, cyclist, crack-head, who we'll call Lance, just drops into lotus position with his palms up and says, "I don't mean you any harm."

The guys cursin' and yelling and our Lance just says very calm and apologetic. Insano shakes his fists at our camera and threatens us but his younger brother (in the brown stripes) has joined the scene and is convincing him to move on.

Then Lance, who was so cool and mellow stands up and instead of shutting his mouth and lating Insano Jr lead Insano away, Lance says "You can hit me. I don't mind." Insano blows up again, saying "Oh yeah, you want me to hit you on camera. Then he turns to the camera and puts his fist to the lens saying "Get that thing out of my face." I work hard to convince them that we're just innocent bystanders and Insano threatens me and the camera crew. I'm thankfull that by this time I've removed the banana outfit. At the same time that I'm trying to keep from getting hit, I'm hoping to get an interview with Insano, but he's unwilling.

We start packing up, and I ask Morken to just pretend to be putting things away while keeping the camera rolling. He does so and we're not dissappointed. Lance hops on his bike and goes NUTS! He tells Insano he's with the department of homeland security and that he's been a marine. Insano does what insano does and goes crazy again. This guy reminds me a World Wrestling character. He looks like an Indian Joe Pesci with the same temperment.

Insano Jr is tired of letting Insano have all the fun so he goes crazy too. Insano has his belt off and is swinging it, and they both keep chasing Lance. Lance just rides away on his bike and than comes back and taunts 'em some more. We're filming the whole spectacle while pretending we're not. Finally Lance splits for good. I introduce myself to Insano, which makes me insane too, but he was such a character, I desperately wanted to interview him. He still will not agree to an interview.
Insano and Insano Jr finish gassing up their two matching bronze colored vans and take off.
So, yeah. The documentary's coming along well. The panhandling however is suffering. Maybe you can help out with a couple bucks?


Blogger Phelpsy said...

Funniest story EVER

I laughed my ass off.. and the people here at work enjoyed it as well.

Hopefully tonight I can get a link to this site on My Site

Money is comming to you my friend

and you have yet to hit me up on myspace yet for some spare change.

I'm not hard to find... I'm Phelpsy there as well

1:04 PM

Blogger Phelpsy said...

I think I may have just broke your record...

1:11 PM

Blogger thepanhandler said...

Oh, Phelpsy, thank you. For the words the link and the money. Yes indeed you're $7.50 donation is now the record holder. I'll update my donations page soon. I'll have new pics up tomorrow of panhandling in a business suit with a cell phone. I'll have the mime picks soon after that.
In the meanwhile there's always new stuff at my other blogs, including

11:41 PM


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