Maybe you have noticed that there is a shit-load of people standing on street corners, holding signs asking for money. To me, this can mean a few things: Times are getting really bad; Your neighborhood is going down the tubes; or Both. But maybe….perhaps there is a new industry out there that could drag our economy out of the doldrums. My heart usually goes out to these folks, and I often give them a buck, cause I’d hate to be in their condition. [Yeah…You can call me a bleeding-heart liberal.]
However…There’s this woman, in her 40’s, not ugly, that I see every morning on the corner of the Von’s parking lot. Pitiful. But when I saw her inside Vons one day, in line for the Starbucks, talking on a cell phone, with pack of cigarettes in her shirt pocket ( and not that cheap Bugler shit); I started wondering. How can someone on the streets, afford a morning Latte, cell phone and tailor-made smokes.? Is begging so lucrative? Or is she just scamming us? [Now you can call me the new Chairman of the Republican National Committee.]
My feeling is, street corner begging is America’s new growth industry. When I was in my prime and fighting crime, we used to call it Pan Handling. The Californian Penal code calls it Solicitation Of Alms. To me its just plain begging. A profession that’s been around since the beginning of time. So why not get serious about it and organize. Start a Union. Have a Union Hall; Local 647c (an inside joke**). Keep stats, and map out the most lucrative corners in town. A Union Hall would be a good place for these folks to load up fresh pieces of cardboard and Sharpie pens. No more dumpster diving and petty thefts. They could have contests to see who comes up with the most creative and revenue generating signs. This “Homeless…Anything Will Help” bit has been way over done in my opinion.
Now “Homeless. Going Through Chemo” still works on me. I mean this person (a woman) was not only bald, but double screwed because not only was she homeless, but had cancer too [Sorry to my RNC friends; I’m still human]. But these folks gotta get creative with their signs; there’s a lot of competition out their in the Alms Market. One guy I saw had a little square on his sign that said” Place you add here”. That was a good one. If there was an Alms Union, they’d know which messages were registered, and keep the local markets from being saturated by the same ol’ shit. And, no more fights over who’s corner is who’s.
Seems to me, that there’s no real money in Blogging. [I’m not charging for this crap]. If you want some fast cash, you gotta start begging. What are we doing, sitting in front of a computer all day? We gotta get out there, nail down a corner, and start begging. The Union may insist you go through some training first. But, We have the advantage. We are all creative writers by nature, have superior language skills, And Spell-check; surely we can drive the homeless competition into the ground with our wit, humor, and clever insights scrawled out on our cardboard signs.
If you were to pursue a career in the Alms Industry, What would you write on your sign?
**647c is the California Penal Code section for solicitation of alms; and a sub-section of section 647 which deals with “nuisance crimes” such as disorderly conduct, lewd conduct, public drunkenness and prostitution.