March 29, 2007

Here’s Our 89 Cents

One of the junior editors here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chip”—recently found himself strolling down an avenue downtown on a charming spring day. The weather was delightful, the breeze a charm, and he was on his cellular telephone.

Yeah, we know: This means that “Chip” is officially one of those dipsticks who talks on a cell ‘phone in public. That’s pretty obnoxious, we’ll admit. But at least he isn’t one of those boobs whose cell ‘phone is well nigh invisible, and leaves passersby to wonder whether they just witnessed a crazy person ranting to himself. And at least he wasn’t in the airport.

Anyway, we mention “Chip’s” cellular telephone usage for one important reason. Whilst “Chip” yammered away to his buddy, a garden-variety wino came up to him and began his delicious accosting process. Ah, the joys of urban life!

“Hey,” he intoned, “I need 89 cents.”

Can you believe the nerve of this character? Here was “Chip,” talking to a pal, and this erratically perambulating boob has just hit him up for funds. Loudly, too.

And he seems to have required a rather exact sum, no? 89 cents? Would he really be irked if we gave him a dollar? Could he have made change?

What did he need the money for, anyway? Little Debbie snack cakes only cost a quarter. Even the moon pies are only fifty cents.

Is there some sort of 89-cent crack sale we haven’t heard about? Maybe we mistakenly deleted that mass e-mail. Along with those charming ones about non-prescription Viagra.

Well, as it turned out, “Chip” was not in the giving mood. And, even if he had been in the giving mood, he wouldn’t be inclined to hand cash over to some obstreperous jerk who can’t even beg for money nicely.

As a result, dear reader, silent “Chip” heard the full wrath of this charming fellow. If by “full wrath” you mean “full wrath minus the fact that he’s currently blitzkrieged out of his mind on a mixture of malt liquor and paint thinner.”

“I can’t stand no jackasses who ain’t givin’ me money,” he bellowed. Well, well: If we didn’t want to hand over some cash to him before, we certainly want to now.

Naturally, “Chip” didn’t say a word in response. This is the one situation—the only situation—in which winos have the upper hand. They may be malodorous derelicts. They may smoke crack like it’s going out of style. They may turn tricks behind the Lincoln Tunnel.

Yet they just don’t fear a night or two in prison. Thus they’re game to say anything to you.

Sure, it’s a small reward for being a shifty crack head. But it’s something.

Posted at March 29, 2007 12:01 AM | TrackBack