Hobos are generally much more resourceful than we give them credit for. After all, they take our money from us in exchange for absolutely nothing. Nobody else in the world does this effectively except perhaps Celine Dion and Stephanie Meyer.
It's 2010 and beggars have come a long way since those trying days of traveling on trains with one of those bandannas tied to the end of a stick.
Folks nowadays don't just ask for money. No, they have other methods and these methods almost always involve startling me in a Walmart parking lot. It always seems to be the same story...
"I need five dollars for gas money to get me home."
If you are like me, and I know most of you wish you were, you do not hold a single cent in your wallet (or man-purse, pouch, handbag, and bursa) AND I am pretty sure panhandlers don't accept American Express.**
Now, I know there are varying opinions on whether or not you should actually give money to these mendicants and we could probably have a rousing discussion while slamming our fists on mahogany roundtables in anger. Of course, during in this hypothetical altercation, we'd all have to wear white wigs with tails and our obscenities would have to be in proper Oxford Style English.***
Let it be known that I, Cheeseboy, promise not to judge you based on your panhandler giving beliefs.
Let it also be known that I, Cheeseboy, do not give to panhandlers for one simple reason: I never, ever have cash on me.
What I am here to help you with is the awkwardness you may face during a rejection of a panhandler. Or, at the very least, I am here to explain what works for me.
1. Pat your pockets. This gives the panhandler the allusion of poverty. In fact, if you visit a poor orphanage in the Ukraine, you'll find a hundred children eating porridge while patting their pockets in unison.
I use this method all the time and it seems to have a fairly high success rate. Beggars see me patting my pockets and they either know I am broke or they think I am insane. Or both. Either way, I'm good.
2. Start making bird calls while looking in the sky. It is important to do this as you are walking to your car as it will ward off any logical beggar before they make their initial approach. Incorporating this method will save you a lifetime of embarrassment.
Besides the above, it is a little known fact that bird callers worldwide are never bothered for money by beggars. In a recent survey of bird callers, only 15% of bird callers had been bothered by beggars in the past year. However, the other 85% admitted to begging. ****
3. When they ask you for money, ask them if they have change for a $50.00. When they say yes, ask them if you can have it because you really need the money for gas to get home. They will be so confused, they will leave you alone.
I call this the "ol' cadger swap".
4. If approached by a supplicant beggar, tell them that you do not have any cash on hand, but you would be happy to give them a rabbit's foot for good luck. Then, pull a bloody rabbit's foot out of your pocket (both blood and rabbit's foot could be fake, especially if you are against this sort of thing) and attempt to hand it to the beggar.
Most of the time, the beggar will simply turns around and walk away. If they don't, you're only out a ketchup packet and a two dollar fake rabbit's foot.
I am convinced that if you incorporate these four easy steps, you will never experience an awkward or embarrassing moment with a panhandler again.
** Although I am sure they will politely write down your credit card number if you offer it to them. Just be sure to give them the security code as well. They will need it for their online purchases.
*** Also, I'd like a few midgets wearing 16th century armor to be there to ensure tranquility.
**** Bird calling does NOT pay well.