I was in downtown Denver a few weeks ago waiting to perform on a music job and as I so often do I stopped on he 16th Street Mall to get a coffee attempting to wind down after a long drive and relax a bit before running off to perform.
I sat down with my coffee outside the coffee shop on their patio beginning to enjoy
a moment of quiet when a homeless man came up to me and said "Now you look like a gentleman, a man of decency and kindness."
At this point I already knew he wanted something because I've been around the homeless enough to recognize their spiels or "come on's"
So he and I chatted for a few minutes as he buttered me up complimenting me and saying "You must be a good man" to which I said, No not really, I do good when I can where I can, but no." Trying to perhaps make him move down the street to another "Target" so I could relax before working.
He kept on though, and then he popped the question I knew was coming "I could use a meal." To which I replied "Yes I can do that."
At first I said "Here's a Starbucks and I can get you a sandwich or something"
But as I was speaking I remembered I had a lunch in my car with sandwiches, a drink, Cookies, and a Yogurt and candy bar and I was a bit low on cash...
So I told him "actually I just remembered I have a lunch in my car and I can give you that, it's got quite a bit of food in it"
The street person got angry and said "You're jive, your dishonest, you said you would buy me a meal."
And I said kindly "Yeah, I know but I'm running a bit low on cash, and I already have a large sack lunch in my car and you can have that." And I also told him that just two months ago I was playing music on the street for extra cash, and so I knew where he was coming from.
"NO" he said, at this point getting angry and started calling me names, saying I'm a liar, dishonest, etc...
So, I started packing up my computer and camera and began trying to move away from this guy as I could see the situation was getting tense.
He continued on "Your a Jive Mother$#%#" and at this point I was also getting angry myself because I'm offering this street beggar a free sack lunch and he doesn't want it, but instead angrily wants me to buy him food and is calling me foul names.
I told him "So I guess beggars can be choosers eh?" (granted probably not the smartest thing I've said to a street person, but I was not happy at this point myself) suddenly he exploded and screamed at me "I DON'T USE MY OWN MONEY, I USE OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY."
I moved away and around this violent angry homeless man as gingerly as possible just trying to get to my car while he continued screaming at me, "YOUR JIVE, I USE OTHER PEOPLES MONEY", and began threatening me with violence...
After getting away from this demented man (and also praying for him) and driving away to my music job, I began thinking about what he said, "I don't use my money, I use OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY" and it hit me that there are literally millions of people in this country right now who think a lot like this street beggar.
From the bottom of our society to the very top of the food chain, there are those in our society who scam others to get what they want and use OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY to accomplish this.
I pondered what the angry street beggar said for a long time, and it struck me...I realized that there are many govt. officials, politicians, street con artists, those pretending to do charity work who use very little of the money meant to help the poor but instead are enriching themselves through craftily moving the substantial monies using smart but questionable financial maneuverings all the while using OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY to do it.
We see this type of thinking through a lot of our society today, small business owners facing increasingly more taxes and heavy regulations imposed by politicians who haven't worked a real job in decades, those who have been on food stamps for 20-25 years, or on welfare for decades, (and don't get me wrong, I believe strongly that people who have come on hard times should get a helping hand, because I've been in that situation myself and I try to do so myself for the less fortunate), but that sort of con artist mentality seems to be common place from the street man I met to the highest government officials. What can I get for free?, how can I use someone else's money to benefit myself?, if I can get someone else to pay my meal ticket why should I pay for it myself?
Over the last twenty five years or so I've usually been quick to give a homeless person a buck or two, or hand them a sandwich I had in the car, or even buy them a meal if I had the money to do so, but, I have to say I learned something when the violent angry street man screamed at me...My naivete was shattered so to speak, and unfortunately a bit of my innocence as well, and I've realized that there are some truly devious people in this world, who think nothing of using and conning hard working people, decent people, trusting people out of their hard earned wages. Con artists from street people to politicians at the highest echelons of Govt. who think nothing of using OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY to reach their end goals and they do so with no conscience whatsoever...Sad but true.
I'm just the Sax Player...:)