The unemployment rate remains high, the federal government nearly defaulted on its loans and the price of everything seems to be going up. In all, this seems like a pretty sweet time to be homeless. Think about it: No bills to worry about, plenty of fresh air, and no one really cares if you drink in the morning. The best part about being homeless right now is that there’s a decent chance some of your friends are, too.
On my way to the office, I see homeless people–at least I assume they are homeless. They could just be on vacation and really, really like sitting outside during a heatwave. And I realized something: I’m the one who has to get up in the morning, I’m the one who gets stressed out from work all day, I’m the one who has to worry about how long my commute will take at the end of the day.
I ask you: Who is truly free: the people I see, or me?
This got me thinking about what I would do if I suddenly became homeless. Granted, this scenario assumes that my funds are depleted, along with any belongings I can’t fit into a backpack or shopping cart, and that my support system fails. Hey, that could happen, would you want me crashing on your couch for weeks on end?
The first thing I would do, aside from cash that final paycheck from my job and invest in a couple knives, would be to whittle my wardrobe down to basically three separate outfits. One to wear during the day and get all sweaty and gross in, a second to wear the next day when the first pair was airing our, and some sweet threads I could wear out at night. I’d be a covert homeless person, you’d see me on the park bench all day, then you’d see me at the bars with you that night.
Next, I would sell my MP3 player, it’s a Zune, which probably makes it worth about $20 right now, but in about 15 years, it’s going to have the nostalgia factor of Betamax, so I can sell it for a good $40, pitching it as an investment. The point here is not to get the money for the device, it’s that no one gives change to a homeless dude with ear buds. My phone wouldn’t be a factor anymore, since I couldn’t pay the bill on that anyway.
Panhandling has to get boring after a while, so I think I would have to develop ways to entertain myself. Sure, the old favorites, like sleeping, ogling women and making people feel guilty with my existence would work, but I could be more inventive. For example, I’d have fun just freaking people the hell out. If you saw a homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk, then get up and, out of nowhere, act out one of Shakespeare’s monologues with perfect diction, how would you react? What if that person instead got up slowly and began shuffling toward you like a zombie?
Sure, you may not have fun, but I would. So America, if you’re about to lose your home, remember this: To hell with being a contributing member of society, it’s time for the adventure of pooping in public!