It's been too long since my last post. The line between reasons and excuses is pretty fine, so I'll spare everyone.
Challenge for the unemployed: Lie down on the floor of a room with a ceiling that's not too high. You're probably poor, so this should be no problem. Take out your NERF dart pistol, lie on your back and point it at the ceiling. Now try to bounce the NERF dart off the ceiling so it drills you perfectly in the forehead.
"But Tony," you say, "I'm an adult and I don't own a NERF gun." This is a personal problem. They sell these things for $15 at K-Mart, and it's a maturing investment in these hard times. Furthermore, the personal fulfillment you'll experience after succeeding at this challenge is worth it. It took me about 10 minutes to get this, and when that little orange tube of styrofoam struck my skull it was like I'd been called for an interview.
I heard a pretty cool story: without going into too much detail, a friend was recently tricked at work. A guy called to register a complaint, and because everything happened over the phone she treated him like any other customer. He complained about his personal effects being moved by another employee, so she fielded the complaint and endured his anger for as long as it took for him to hang up. I'm repulsed by the very idea of serving customers; props to her.
She tracks down a co-worker who might have moved this guy's stuff and asks him. The guy's confused, then his eyes widen. "I moved that homeless guy's stuff, but it was just bags filled with plastic bottles!" She then realizes what happened. One of the local drifters was hanging out in her store, left his scavenged goodies lying around while he did whatever hobos do, and called the store to register a complaint afterwards. The key here is the telephone: in person, this guy could never have pulled it off. Nobody's going to take him seriously; he's a hobo, and even in the hobo-infested Bay Area that wouldn't fly. But this particular hobo had a presence to him. My friend knows the guy, and apparently he is downright magnetic. His voice has an authority to it, a command that not many people have. It's an innate talent.
This got me thinking. The stories of the homeless are typically tragic, wasted potential and mental illness and all that. This guy is at least a little daffy, since he called a retail establishment (from whose phone, I wonder?) to complain that his hobo bags had been moved by an employee. But what if he was supposed to be the next big cult leader/evangelist/evil dictator? This guy was born with the tools to manipulate and control his fellow man; he has a power of will and spirit that forces others to listen when he speaks. This guy is more than a hobo, he's a super-hobo. He's Akili Smith or Ryan Leaf or one of those first-round draft picks who has all the physical tools, but lacks the intangibles to put it all together. He blew everyone away at Hobo Combine but it's never translated to the on-field product. He's bottled lightning on the aluminum can shuttle-run. He can take a cop's nightstick in the chops like nobody you've ever seen. He can scour a loaded dumpster of all its copper-containing items and pile them inside a derelict car in 23 seconds flat. But it never really came together for him, and now he's out of the league. The show goes on.
This isn't worth a ton of time or print, but I was heckled again by children while running. This time they were leaning out of a packed school bus. A 9-year-old black girl yelled PUT A SHIRT ON out of her window and the other children aped her. I was going to ignore it, but I noticed the bus was driving really slowly and I thought I could catch up. I put my head down and sprinted; sure enough, I was able to close on it. The children shrieked in terror and pulled their assorted limbs back inside the bus, at which point I pulled up laughing and satisfied. See, I've decided since my first post that obnoxious children are like squirrels. Everyone's had a squirrel up in a tree taunt you, chattering and squeaking away. And you don't really care, but you throw a pebble or slap the trunk of the tree; you do something to put the fear in that little shit-talker. Because God dammit, you are way bigger than him and he should respect that. So I think that busload of kids learned something, which is why their parents (who were staring at me while I did this) put them on the bus to begin with. Everyone's happy.
Final thought: I blame our culture for all this. Hollywood demands its leading men be shorn of body hair; when's the last time you saw a hairy guy who wasn't Hugh Jackman with his shirt off being sexualized? The fancyboy in those Twilight movies has not a hair on his entire body that isn't both a) on his head, and b) coated in a foul ichor of hair gel. He's creating an entire generation of women repulsed by body hair. Which has me thinking about an entirely new post where I juxtapose pictures of Robert Pattinson and Marilyn Manson circa 1998.