Recently we were a resident at the Salvation Army in the Homeless veterans program. Today we are going back to school and thanks to the Volunteers of America we are now in an apartment. We still have an income where there is way too much month at the end of the money so how long we will be in this apartment is anybody’s guess. This lack of money brings us to the very popular topic of panhandling. We watched a movie the other night made in 1935 starring Charles Starrett called “Make a Million”. This movie is about how an economics professor makes a million dollars by panhandling or as we call it today crowdfunding. In this period there was no internet or e-mail and his main nemesis was the bank but he used the newspaper, radio and the U.S. Post office to become successful in his venture. In this movie he had the assistance of men who were professional panhandlers who showed him the ropes so to say. Professional panhandlers simply come up with ways to get people to give them money basically like what advertisers do. They lie.
We have known some professional panhandlers and they make a very good living doing it. Some use the gift of gab and others fly a sign. The gift of gab is great because the first statement is usually don’t give me any money. By the time they are done talking not only do you want to give them money but you want take them home with you. With the gift of gab you make people believe that they are apart of your story and they want to participate by helping you out. Some professional gab artist turn out to be con people who seek out targets to enrich themselves and others seek out random people who genuinely want to help someone in need. One such couple that we knew would walk into a Burger King and ask someone to help them get a sandwich and end up walking out with sixty to a hundred dollars. They did this out of necessity because they lived between the streets and motels. However they always seemed to have money for cigarettes and beer. These are very important items in the homeless community because if you have these you never go without.
The sign holders that we know average three hundred dollars a day. They travel the country camping out or staying in motels living a true nomadic lifestyle. Their personal choices sometimes land them in jail but aside from that they are completely free individuals. Sometimes they exhibit stupidity but we have to admire their courage and determination to be free. It takes courage to leave the reservation and try to live as your ancestors lived.
When we look at panhandling we can see that giving and receiving is a gift. It is apart of the universal give and take. To give a gift is to receive a gift and to receive a gift is to give a gift. Everytime you accept a gift you give the giver the opportunity to receive a blessing form the universe. Therefore giving and receiving benefits the universe in a positive sense. The only negative aspect of panhandling is when we seek to take advantage of generosity in the name of greed. When we panhandle because of need then we have positive benefits. When we panhandle just to be greedy such as advertisements that entice us to purchase things that we absolutely do not need then we have negative panhandling with positive results, So when you see us out there panhandling it is not because we are greedy its because we have a need. We need a few bucks for a pack of smokes can you help us out.