For an untrusting calculating person generosity is a trait that is difficult to cultivate. People like me need a lot of convincing. Here are ways to become a successful beggar.
Rule #1. Learn to act.
Everyday I come across peddlers asking for spare change. Of all those people I wonder who will win the 39 cents I have in my pocket? Would it be the blind man who keeps on bumping on everybody on the 2 train? The truth is I do not believe he is blind. Have you ever seen a blind man totter with a walking stick he does not even use? A blind beggar with perfectly trimmed beard, extremely dark fashionable sunglasses, trucker cap, pristine white oversized shirt, new baggy denim shorts and rubber shoes cleaner than mine? Move over Eminem. Once I saw him on the train doing his act. One lady fell for it and the blind standing behind her watched as she reached in her Louis Vuitton purse for some change. With a smirk and a canned expression of gratitude he moves and bumps the lady in front of me. She shakes her head and I remark "I do not believe he is blind". The man looked at me with what I could only presume as a deadly stare then shouts "Could somebody help me find the way to the next car?".
Rule #2. No sleeping during work hours.
Should I go up to United Homeless Organization's desk that is strategically located in front of Citibank on 5th and drop my 39 cents inside its 5 gallon watercooler bottle? The only reason why I would like to get rid of the homeless people is to avoid riding a subway car they had slept on. Here is a useful tip to anyone who rides a subway train in Manhattan. When you find a car that is uncharacteristically uncrowded and the next car is not; never board that car. Only two things could explain this phenomenon. One is the air-conditioning is broken and the other is a homeless person was in it. The stench of a homeless person is unimaginable. The smell of urine mixed with human waste and years of not having bathed could fill the air in seconds and last for hours. However, instead of pity for these people I feel envy. When I chance upon them sleeping on a subway station, while I board a train jampacked with people like me on our way to work I could only feel sorry for myself. Here I am rushing to work when a huge portion of my paycheck will go to these people just so the government could pay for their medical bills when they get sick, while I have to contribute some amount for my health insurance that may not even cover certain medical procedures. When they go hungry they could stop by a shelter for some free food, while I would have to pay for lunch. After a long day's work you rush home and there they are again sleeping. There really is no reason to be homeless in America. If illegal immigrants like the Mexicans who walk a desert to cross Texas' border, Cubans who swim to Florida's shore and the Chinese who sail like a pack of sardines in a hull of a ship can somehow find ways to earn a living how come these citizens cannot? The homeless choose to be homeless. They are not only missing a home. They also have no self-respect.
Rule #3. Lose some weight.
On my way to play tennis I pass a six foot 250 pound man who goes to me and says "You have a quarter?!". Everytime I see him I find the urge to hit him with my running forehand, but all I ever got to do is say "Sorry I only have 20 dollar bills". My sister once told me that one morning a woman fatter than she is (my sister is fluffy herself)
sipping Starbuck's coffee asked her money for food, because she is hungry. The nerve.
Rule #4. Speeches bore people.
If you ride the 6 train you probably have heard this speech "I have two children and have no work blah blah blah". Notice that I only remembered half of the first sentence. If I want to hear some sad story I'd watch a movie or turn on the television. Also, remember to bring proof. This lady could have profited if she actually brought the kids with her. Otherwise, people would think the children do not exist or the panhandling business is doing so well that she was able to afford a babysitter.
Rule #5. Cursing and name-calling is not effective.
When I was still in college a one-legged man approached the jeepney my friends and I were riding. He politely asks for some change and when none of us gave anything he shouts at us and says "Mga walang kwenta!"
(Good for nothing!) from which I replied "Kunin ko kaya yang saklay mo sinong walang kwenta ngayon!"
(Give me those crutches! See who's good for nothing now!") Another time was when a friend and I were on our way home from a wake. We were about to cross Araneta Avenue when a kid came to us and asked for money. As usual we said "No, we don't have any", which really means No, we don't have money for you
. Crossing the street she cursed and wished our houses would burn and while boarding the jeepney she yelled to the driver not to let us in and told him we do not have money to pay our fare. Hilarious. These only prove that I made the right choice of not giving alms.
The anti-mendicancy law justifies my intolerance to panhandling. However, it does not protect me from guilt. Sometimes I wonder why it is difficult for me to donate money. The realization came with a thought of owning a dog. I have said to myself that once I bought a house I would buy myself a dog. I have even thought of naming it pichi-pichi, cuchinta or bibinka. I would feed, bathe, walk and even pick up its waste. (Who's the master now?)
So, if I could spend money and time for a dog why can't I do the same for a human being? With that I managed to convince myself to donate to World Villages for Children
Monthly Pledge for World Villages for Children: $xx
Appeasing ones conscience: Priceless
This is probably the worst act of generosity, but it is a start.