Monday, January 19, 2009
Change for a Buck
I spoke briefly with this gentleman (above) today as he stood near the corner of Irving Park and Elston Avenue on Chicago's near northwest side. He mentioned that this gig was not his chosen profession and that he and all the other hired statues were indeed, hoping for at least some kind of career change with the coming Administration. I felt it was my civic duty to step up and fill him in with the real scoop. After all, I am a blogger and if nothing else, I have an opinion.
You see, I'm not sure Obama's new Jobs Initiative Proposal has a place for this guy (or his co-workers) but then again, there's probably not a spot carved out in it for me either. Sorry folks, I am not working on roads or bridges (vertigo) for a living. It's better for everybody, believe me.
I still owe my college, Slippery Rock, a library fine from two decades ago (over $300 interest and penalties as of this writing. I can pay it any time...but I won't. I'm leaving it to them in my will, I've decided) and they wont release my transcripts---so I can't be a teacher. I tried to explain this to my new friend...you know, as an example...so as not to get his hopes up with all the political rhetoric he's been hearing on the Chicago sidewalks these past several months. It was my intention to simply help prepare him for yet even more career disappointment. He just shrugged and told me his boss was hiring if I was interested. I thanked him and politely declined an interview. (I'm still reeling from the last time I wore a costume for a paycheck: the bad Easter Bunny at Neshaminy Mall back in 1976.)
I think back on the things I, myself, have done for a buck: I was a morning paperboy for most of my early teenage years (and thus, I am wide awake at 4:45AM, even to this day), I've picked tobacco in North Carolina (2 days), worked in a warehouse loading 120 lbs boxed dumbell sets into a semi truck all day (okay, half a day...once), painted apartments (okay apartment) with a recently released, convicted, practicing alcoholic felon who stole my radio when I went to the bathroom (again, one half day and I left at lunch after he accused me of calling him a thief and wanted to fight me.), the afore mentioned Easter Bunny gig (one long alcohol induced week) and an insurance salesman (15 even longer alcohol induced years). So I offered Mr Liberty a buck for a snapshot, you know...to be polite. He held out for a five note. Come to find out, he didn't really want change after all. Or at least, not the kind of loose change I had in mind. He smelled a little boozy, too. I told him he didn't have to drink, that his life could get better---maybe even shed the costume one day, but this is about the time his mood changed for the worse and I decided to split before I got into a fight and he stole my iPhone and my radio.
Anyway, I hope this serves as a symbol of how great a country we live in. Remember, in just a few quick months and a corporate mandate here or there, any one of us can find ourself standing on a corner getting patronized for a buck or two. Now that is what I call liberty and justice for all...if not, good old American equality.