I saw a guy on a corner recently. He had one of those “Homeless, please help” signs.
I’m always skeptical of these people. Maybe I’m cynical or maybe I’m just heartless. But this particular guy had (what I perceived to be) his young son on the corner with him. My first reaction was that of my cynicism: “Wow, this guy is smart! That kid will really tug at the heart strings of would be donors.”
And it did. Man, this kid was racking up! I thought to myself: “I could never in a million years subject my kids to that.”
But, then the dad in me kicked in: What if they’re legit? What if the man and his child are homeless and in such despair that this was his last resort? What if he felt that in order to ensure a decent meal for his son that he had to swallow his pride and stick out his hand for help? Remember “The Pursuit of Happyness”? Will Smith’s character fell on such hard times that he and his son had to spend the night in a public restroom. As a father, that scene killed me.
The point I’m trying to make is that you never know a person’s struggle. Yeah, we might see the guy standing there with a sign so we assume most of his story. But, what really got him there? It’d be easy to say “they’re just lazy” or “if they really wanted a job, etc…”
Sure, that could be the case. But most people have needed a little help along the way. Mine usually comes from my dad. I can’t tell you how many times he’s loaned me a few dollars to get me out of a jam.
But what if a person doesn’t have a dad like mine or a sibling, a mom or even an uncle they can reach out to? Many of us don’t know what we would resort to in that situation.
I also found myself thinking this of the guy that set fire to Twin Peaks this past week. Most of us would never even consider doing such a heinous thing: endangering the lives of all those people, ruining all that property and depriving the CSRA of those delicious quesadillas (they were some of my favorite around)!
The story I’ve heard is that he was an employee there, which leads me to believe he was at least at some point stable enough to hold a job. Or maybe he was always just a little off. Which would make me wonder: just who the hell is making our food when we eat out, anyway?
I mean, I’ve been angry before. I’ve been so angry that I’ve felt like I could snap. I’ve also been fired under shady circumstances on more than one occasion. But I’ve never thought about anything remotely close to setting a building on fire. My version of snapping is more along the lines of thinking about “what I should have said to those a-holes” on my angry drive to the unemployment office.
But, you really got to give it to this guy. He got so angry that he thought “well, I lost my job. The only way to top that off is by being incarcerated, too!” Then he went home, holding onto his anger long enough to load up his propane tanks. I don’t know about you, but my propane tanks are attached to things like grills and such. So, I assume he had to disconnect his tanks, check them to see if they had propane, go to a gas station to exchange them out (in case they were empty, but that would be good since he had to fill up his gas can too), then drive all the way back to his former employer, stopping only to text his neighbor to tell them to go get his mail since he’ll be away for a while, then call his buddies to tell them that he won’t be making it to play poker this weekend, finally making it back to carry out his promise to “show them.”
It all seems a bit excessive to me. I would have lost interest as soon as I got home, grabbed a cold beer and gave myself a little time to calm down and think a little more rationally. But, like I said, I don’t know this guy’s struggle, or anyone’s struggle, for that matter. However, I do hope that you can find at least enough hope to keep your own struggle from reaching a similar level of intensity.