The young man begging in front of the LRT station is wearing a brand new pair of Timberlands; clean, fashionable jeans; and a very nice woolen greatcoat.
This outfit does not work, however, with the hand-lettered and ripped cardboard boxtop he is holding: Any Amount You Can Give, it says, God Bless.
"Anybody got any money?" he shouts. "Ma'am! Ma'am! You got any spare change?"
Even in my sleep-deprived, early-morning state, I can't help but wonder: there’s a “spare” kind of change? I don’t think I’ve ever had “spare” change...
I would like to try it, though.
And I can't help but wonder how much he’ll pull in this morning. What are the odds that anyone will be moved to charity by the sight of this well-built young man in the dark gray woolens and immaculate boots?
Not good. Not good odds.
For me, it’s all in the approach. I mean, he’s doing it, but he’s doing it without love.
It's hard to want to give money to someone who looks better rested - and better dressed - than you.
And that sign! That sign is a travesty. You don't come to work unprepared! Me, I work every day. I get up, I brush my hair, I wear sensible shoes for the walk to the bus. I’ve agreed to sell my time and my brain by the hour, and I look like it, so if this guy is going to look me right in the eyes while hollerin' for money, he could at least provide something of value.
I'll tell you what: Amuse me. Tell me a joke. Stand on your hands. Sell me a map of the downtown skyways. Dress the part, if you're going to try to pull me into this charade. You look like you just stepped out of Gentlemen's Quarterly.
He wants my “spare change”?
Come on, man.
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