Artisan by Dan Joyce
I’ve been living in a new place with less money and haven’t had enough to afford to trim my beard. Being older now and having grey facial hair that grows fast, I kind of look a bit down and out. At the gallery, a friend called it a bum beard. A girlfriend bought me a beanie to wear everywhere to stay warm. At first I was reluctant to wear it, “On you it looks cute,” I told her, “but on me it looks homeless.”
Then I was at the Denny’s one night having a cup of coffee and a man walked by and set something next to me walking away. It was a twenty-dollar bill. It was sort of intimating and insulting, but hey, it was twenty dollars. Then another night I was smoking a cigar outside the am/pm and an attractive woman walked in to pay for her gas. I smiled, but she did nothing. Instead, she walked out after paying her gas and handed me five dollars. Then I noticed something dishonest. If I just look homeless and down and out enough, people will just give me money. I don’t have to panhandle or hold a sign on the freeway or do anything and I get a shot at some extra cash! I call it my new homeless hustle.
I have a place to live and I’ve been working at an online business that is picking up. Really, I’m not doing that bad, but I don’t look it. At A.A. all the old-timers want to help me out and all the girls smile at me, probably because they think I know where to buy drugs. I don’t know how long this will last, but I’m getting money handed to me everywhere I go. Sure, it’s degrading to be pitied, but it’s also quite profitable. Here’s to you homeless people! The charitable of the world will always be welcome.