Homeless humor

All posts by Max R. Weller

Drunken conversation on the SKIP

Overheard last night, as I rode the SKIP around its circuit starting around 6:50PM and returning to north Boulder at about 8PM –

Denver Inebriate #1: Hey man, let’s go down to Dead Man’s Park.

Denver Inebriate #2: Don’t they call it Central Park?

#1: Yeah, but they’ve found five homeless men dead in the river there in the past five days. It’s Dead Man’s Park!

#2: Who killed ‘em?

#1: Nobody knows, but they all died the same way. Their necks were broken, and they were thrown in the water. It’s f***** up, man.

#2: Maybe they just got too drunk and fell into the river, ya know? Hit their heads on a rock.

#1: Nah, man. Somebody’s killing homeless people in Boulder. One a day for the past five days. And the pigs don’t care!

#2: Maybe it’s the cops killing ‘em.

#1: Man, I want to stay in Boulder because it’s the best place to be! But now they’re murdering homeless m***** f******.

#2: Didn’t the shelter close?

#1: Yeah, man. I tried to get in there at 5 o’clock, but they told me I had to be in some program during the summer. F*** that, man.

#2: Where we gonna camp tonight? I don’t wanna get too f***** up, the cops might kill us.

#1: I dunno, man. Hey, this is our stop: Canyon. (They got off at Walnut).

Denver Inebriate #1 had asked the female bus driver, when he and his buddy boarded the SKIP just down Broadway a couple of blocks from Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, if she needed a spouse. She politely declined his amorous advance. Both of these characters had breath that could peel paint off a wall.

Come to think of it, they’re excellent candidates for the Housing First project at 1175 Lee Hill . . . Drunken transients from Denver, in dire need of “permanent supportive housing” provided by Boulder Housing Partners in collaboration with BSH. Since sobriety isn’t a requirement for clients accepted into this program, and Red’s Liquor is conveniently located nearby, it’s a perfect fit.

(Originally published on May 4, 2012).

Please use both hands while riding your bike!

Update on the Stinking Chef, a transient who came here to Boulder a couple of years ago straight from the state psychiatric facility at Pueblo: Chef, noted for hanging out at CU trying to pick up coeds and for riding his bike at top speed with no hands to steer it (besides his well-known body odor and obnoxious behavior in general), was lying on the sidewalk in front of University Inn the other night crying for help after wrecking his bike. The SKIP driver stopped the bus I was on, and a male passenger helped Chef get onto the bus. He got off at Boulder Community Hospital. Last night, he came to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless on the last night they’ll be open until October 15th — and he was in a wheelchair with his right leg in a cast. Tonight he may be at Samaritan House in Denver, which offers respite care for the mentally deranged who fracture their limbs through sheer stupidity.
 
I’ll never forget the first time I met Chef; it was at BSH one morning as several of us were waiting to get in at 6AM for showers, breakfast, etc. He walked up to us in a chef’s uniform, eyes about to pop out of his head and his whole body twitching, and started talking about reducing wine to make a Burgundy Sauce. We had been talking about which fast food chain has the best hamburgers.
 
Chef went on to get into the program at BSH — no surprise there — but he couldn’t hang on to his job in the kitchen of a local restaurant, washing dishes, and he liked to run the streets all night smoking whatever it is he smokes. (My guess would be crystal Drano). After being given the old heave-ho from the program, he started hanging out at the University Memorial Center and sometimes at Norlin Library. He loudly complained last Fall when he was ticketed for riding his bike sans hands on handlebars, and apparently learned nothing at all from that brush with the law. He’s been seen riding in this reckless manner at top speed up and down Broadway and on the CU campus, too, since then.
 
I wish Chef good luck down in Denver, and I hope he finds a new place in that city.
 
(Originally published on May 1, 2012).
 
“Boulder Peace Commission” advises transients to leave
 

Their reputations alone were such that they resolved the infamous “Dodge City War” without firing a shot. Confronting a few hundred unwashed inebriates from Denver and elsewhere, and putting them on the road out of our fair city, should be child’s play for Wyatt Earp & Co.

(Originally published on April 25, 2012).

The lunatic fringe needs to get off stage

As long as these guys, and others like them, are reinforcing all of the negative stereotypes — we’ll never see decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use on the federal level. After all, it’s the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

(Originally published on April 23, 2012).

Condo Man “flies a sign”

You can see him on the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36, during those times when neither dos borrachos nor the Homeless Philosopher is there. He’s short and skinny, with a blonde ponytail, and usually is leaning against the signpost at the end of the concrete median. He was there on Easter Sunday afternoon between 4 and 5PM; I watched as not a single passerby gave him anything, not even a granola bar. When I took his place from 5 until shortly after 6PM, I did better than my average. Folks at this location know very well who is a regular, and sober as well, and are generous with kind words, cash, food, etc. They’re not quite so inclined to donate to inebriates obviously in their pickled state, and apparently not at all to strangers like Condo Man. He was there again this morning around 9AM, as I returned my bag of clean laundry to my campsite, and seemed to be striking out again.

Technically, he lives in a Section 8 apartment (not a condo) in the Dakota Ridge subdivision nearby, but Condo Man has a nicer ring to it. Apparently, he suffers from no physical disability. I’ve observed his anger management problem, however, and I’ll presume he gets a “crazy check” a.k.a. SSI disability benefits in addition to subsidized housing and numerous other types of government assistance. About a month ago, on a Sunday morning, he was returning a rented vacuum cleaner to someplace downtown and needed to be there by 10AM. He didn’t understand that the RTD bus schedule is different on Sundays, and he couldn’t make it there in time to prevent a late fee being charged. He cussed out the bus driver on the 204, got on his cell phone and started cussing to a friend about the situation, then cussed out the 204 driver some more. All to no avail, and the driver called his dispatcher. Just then, a SKIP bus arrived and he got on it along with me. Probably lucky for Condo Man that he left before Boulder PD arrived; he might have gotten himself tasered and arrested, his anger being so inappropriate and out of control.

Thinking about it, I realize it’s a good thing he has an apartment of his own. If he were living on the streets or in a shelter, his belligerence would cause him to have real problems on a daily basis given his puny stature.

If you see him there as you approach the corner and you have a red light, ask him whether he lives in a “condo” and see what he says. BTW, I’m told that his first name is Paul.

(Originally published on April 11, 2012).

Occupiers vandalize sidewalks on CU’s Norlin Quad

As I was walking from the SKIP stop at Broadway & Pleasant over to Norlin Library this morning about 8:30AM, I observed that local Occupy Movement vandals had been busy spray-painting a variety of slogans and symbols onto the sidewalks along the way. These were numerous and all associated with a so-called general strike on May 1st being touted by local Occupiers.

I happened to meet a CU-Boulder Police officer as I was slowly making my way to the library and I remarked to him, “I see the Occupy spray painters have been at work.” He replied, “Yes, we caught them last night and all of their stuff is now at the PD.” I’ll presume they were ticketed, but the officer didn’t specifically say.

Think of the amount of money it’s going to take to remove this pseudo-Marxist propaganda from sidewalks in the Norlin Quad area alone! I don’t know whether or not the Occupy vandals struck elsewhere on the CU campus; I hope the posers were quickly apprehended and damage was kept to a minimum.

Since most of the local Occupiers are actually well-heeled (hence my use of the term “posers”), it shouldn’t be difficult for them to reimburse CU for the costs of removing their silly attempt in spray paint to incite an uprising of the similarly well-heeled residents of Boulder, CO. These clowns have probably never broken into a sweat doing manual labor of any kind, and using an expensive gym membership doesn’t count as labor in my book.

————————————————————————————

Update 11:15AM — As I stepped outside the west entrance of Norlin Library to enjoy my lunch (not one, but two white creme-filled and caramel-frosted longjohns from the King Soopers bakery), I saw the CU maintenance workers with power washers attempting to scrub away the Occupiers’ juvenile acts of political activism a.k.a. graffiti.

(Originally published on April 6, 2012).

An open letter to Bridge House

Dear Bridge House:

I haven’t been to your establishment in the past three years, and I have no desire whatsoever to return to it. Overcrowded, noisy, foul-smelling, catering to the lowest common denominator of transients from Denver and elsewhere, I consider it to be a poor excuse for a homeless people’s day center. Because I volunteered full-time for a year (from September of 2005 until September of 2006) at Hope Faith Minstries in Kansas City, MO I know a little bit about how things ought to be managed at such a facility. At that time, Hope Faith was located on Charlotte just south of Truman Road in a much smaller building than what they now enjoy, but even that was larger than Bridge House’s firetrap here in Boulder, CO.

Regardless of my own negative opinion of your nonprofit enterprise, I’ve continued to list Bridge House as a resource for the homeless here on my website. Any day center is better than no day center, one might say.

To the crux of my letter to you, given what I’ve stated above – Imagine my surprise yesterday evening, as I was once again in the role of humble beggar at the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36 in my north Boulder neighborhood, to be rudely accosted by a motorist who purported to represent Bridge House. (Of course, he had no idea that I write a community blog on homelessness for the Daily Camera). He told me that begging does no good, handed me a card on which the same message was printed along with an incorrect street address for BH, and he urged me to go there for help. I was struck speechless by this man’s arrogant manner! As if I were some ignurnt hillbilly who just fell off the turnip truck on its way to Farmers’ Market . . . The traffic light turned green and he drove away, before I could utter any reply.

I’ve already told you what I know about Bridge House. Here’s what I know about begging. Your pretentious representative, if in fact that’s what he is, apparently believes that anyone panhandling must be a drunkard or a dope fiend. Yes, I was offended not only for myself but also for the rest of the 80% of homeless people who are not riff-raff. Where did you find this fool, anyway? And whose asinine notion was it to send him out to harass humble beggars on street corners in our fair city? Harass those who are drunkards and dope fiends, instead — I’ll make NO complaint on their behalf.

The homeless who are seeking a few extra dollars to buy life’s necessities were hurt enough some time ago, when Joy Eckstine urged passersby to give ALL beggars (regardless of sobriety) granola bars rather than cash. I was hoping that the new executive director of Boulder’s homeless people’s day center would be more perceptive, and understand that most beggars do not abuse the generosity of their sponsors; obviously, I was wrong to be hopeful. Sending somebody out to humiliate and browbeat the homeless into becoming Bridge House clients! Granted, in my case that strategy has failed in a profound way, but what about others? What gives you the right, Bridge House?

Isabel McDevitt, George Epp, et al — you ought to be ashamed of yourselves!

Sincerely,

Max R. Weller, Homeless Philosopher & Commentator

(Originally published on March 30, 2012).

The Boulder County DA’s delusion of grandeur

See what Stan Garnett has to say to the feds in re Boulder’s MMJ industry here.

Thank you, DA Garnett — the best laugh I’ve enjoyed in many moons. I’m sure the feds will give your request all the consideration it deserves, as it’s flushed down the toilet.

BTW, the MMJ industry here has generated barely enough sales tax and license revenue to cover administrative costs — there has been no bonanza of millions of $$$ flowing into local government coffers as we were all promised by MMJ proponents. About $760,000 in sales taxes to the City of Boulder in 2011, according to a recent report in the Daily Camera. Quoting from the article:

“One number in the report that had no precedent was the city’s medical marijuana business sales tax numbers. The city collected $760,149, less than half a percent of the total sales and use tax revenue.

“Nickell said that with a moratorium on medical marijuana business licenses in place, the numbers will likely not see any change in 2012, but he added that the tax revenue, along with licensing fees, covered the cost of administration for the fledgling industry.”

Apparently, however, the druggies have succeeded in hoodwinking (if not corrupting) DA Garnett. This is something you’d expect of a public official in a banana republic. Or of one in the Boulder Bubble, I’m sorry to report.

Stan, do you really believe that so many of Boulder’s apparently healthy MMJ consumers are NOT scamming the system? I know they are, because some of them share their dope with me even though I don’t have any use for it — and I give it away in turn. Wake up and smell the coffee, DA Garnett.

(Originally published on March 14, 2012).
 
Another nut in north Boulder

Despite the very undesirable behavior of los borrachos during the daylight hours in my north Boulder neighborhood (around Boulder Shelter for the Homeless), nights have been rather peaceful for the past year and more. Unfortunately, last night’s performance by a different transient from the daytime bunch is alarming to me.

As I was accepting donations and good wishes from passersby at the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36 around 6PM, some whale-sized bum came shuffling along from behind the businesses in that small commercial district, where he had no legitimate purpose being in the first place. He sat down next to the sidewalk leading to and from the Dakota Ridge subdivision, still on private property. I didn’t think much about his presence, until I saw flames from his spot about 100′ away from me. I yelled, “Hey, stupid! Put out the fire!” For good measure I quickly added, “F***ing Denver POS!” He put out the fire. But, maybe half-an-hour later I saw flames again from the same spot. Believe me, this was one of the rare occasions that I wished I owned a cell phone to call the Boulder County Sheriff. I was hoping motorists or neighbors might spot this firebug’s foolishness, but apparently nobody did. The flames were out in a couple of minutes, anyway, this time without my verbal intervention.

When it got dark, and I had set my $10 Wal-Mart watch ahead an hour for the ridiculous Daylight Savings Time, I went to my campsite to eat supper and go to sleep. (BTW, I left Mouse the granola bars I’d received from sponsors since my teeth really can’t handle them, but a rodent’s choppers are much tougher). Shortly after I started dreaming about warm and sunny beaches in Santa Barbara, CA the aforementioned whale-sized bum comes tromping right by my spot, without saying as much as two words like “excuse me”. I peered out from under my tarp to make sure he kept on traveling away from me, and he did. I’m a hermit, so unless you’re an attractive woman I have zero desire to share your company at night, and most attractive women would give me pause. When I got up this morning at 5AM, the nut was nowhere to be seen.

We had a homeless firebug up in north Boulder back in 2010, a guy calling himself “Tennessee”. I don’t want another one causing all sorts of problems and getting me into trouble through no fault of my own. I’ve been fine alone since October of 2010, and those who are aware of my presence in the neighborhood don’t seem to mind a well-behaved guest. Actually, after four years there, I’m more of a resident (albeit a homeless one).

I suppose this nut was only there because he’s used all of his allotted 90 nights at BSH and there wasn’t a warming center last night. Regardless of his reasons, I want him gone back to whatever pesthole in Denver or elsewhere he came from.

I’ll even give him the $5 bus fare . . .

(Originally published on March 11, 2012).

“Denver King” arrested

See the Daily Camera article here.

I’m acquainted with Richard Grant, who calls himself “Denver King” and is in fact from there. The other suspect I’ve never seen before.

Denver King (DK) spent last summer in the neighborhood around Boulder Shelter for the Homeless in the company of “Drunk Steve”, a guy who continues to hang out on the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36 panhandling for liquor money — despite having been in Boulder Community Hospital for a week recently with pneumonia and frostbite. DK had a bicycle with a kiddie trailer then, which he used to haul Steve between the corner and the nearby liquor store. Later, Steve bought an old pickup, which DK drove until they got into some scrape with the law over that.

As I recall, a couple of years ago DK told another homeless guy he was going to take a gun to the Main Library at 1001 Arapahoe; that vaguely threatening remark was reported to Boulder PD, who locked down the building and asked every man inside for ID (including me). DK wasn’t there at that time, and was apparently just running his mouth for no good reason.

These characters are good examples of what this north Boulder neighborhood has had to put up with for many moons now, but they are still a small minority of the homeless. The best thing to do with all of the transient lawbreakers, once they get out of jail, is to put ‘em on the bus back to Denver with a warning not to return to Boulder.

(Originally published on March 7, 2012).
 
A juvenile fantasy and one wag’s reply

Copied from the Daily Camera comments following this article

A Report back from The Boulder Bloc Party Leap-night Action
By Falcon

After dark on Feb 29th, small groups of radicals and free thinkers began trickling into central park in Boulder, Colorado. A week or so prior, a call had gone out to come to Boulder for a Funeral of the Earth march and an anti-capitalist skillshare. The event was designed to spread awareness of “greenwashing” and the myth of sustainable industrial capitalism.

Braving near freezing temperatures and harsh wind, the groups huddled close together, feasting on fresh warm burritos supplied by a local free kitchen. Two uniformed Boulder police officers attempted to gather information on the event, but were roundly ignored save for a few pointed questions by the mostly masked crowd.

A little after 8pm the group of 20-30 began marching East on Broadway. The banners read “The only green capitalism cares about is $$$”, “Greed isn’t green, Earth isn’t for sale” and “Resistance is fertile”. Four pallbearers carried a black coffin in the middle of the march, scrawled on the sides it said “the Earth or Capitalism, you decide”. A short time later the march took over 15th street. The shouts of “Who’s’ streets? Our streets!” echoed off of the glass and concrete walls. Diners in an upscale restaurant peered out of the windows as protesters chanted “for the Earth, we will fight, we know where you sleep at night”. As the march headed West onto the Pearl Street pedestrian shopping mall, fliers describing the inherent destructiveness of capitalism were passed out to people waiting outside of the many bars that litter the area. At Pearl and Broadway the march took to the streets again, first shutting down one lane on either side before forming up and taking over both south bound lanes. An aggressive driver nearly took out the front part of the march when his oversize truck fishtailed as he sped around the march. As traffic backed up for several blocks B.P.D. was nowhere to be seen.

The marchers filled the air with cries of “We are unstoppable, another world is possible”, their black flags flying proudly in the wind. As the march neared the “Hill”, one participant was harassed by a lone pig in an SUV. The march stopped to show support but police were mobilizing all around. The march crossed the median into oncoming traffic briefly before making its way on to CU Boulder campus.

There, nearly surrounded by patrolling squad cars a countdown to dispersal was shouted. In the blink of an eye the black clad group vanished. All that was left were a few leaflets blowing in the wind. Campus police cruisers with glaring headlights and flash lights covered grid patterns across campus looking for any individuals from the group, but all that could be seen were brightly dressed college kids toting book bags and backpacks

Reply: Sounds like the sort of juvenile fantasy one would tell to a gullible young lady, in order to get laid.

(Originally published on March 2, 2012).
 
Only 63 nights left for the 90-day-wonders
 

Yes, transients from Denver and elsewhere, you have only 63 nights of emergency sheltering remaining at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless before it closes. Last night is April 30th. True, many have already used their allotted 90 nights — but more arrived here to take their place. Soon, it will be over for everyone.

Yippee!

No more filling up your breakfast tray, eating only half the food and throwing the rest away, then getting another tray to repeat the process. I’m not there for dinner, but I’m sure you’re just as selfish at that meal.

No more sitting around watching TV, playing cards, or acting in your own little drama from 6PM or so until 8AM the next morning. Granted, you need to relax for 14 hours straight before heading out for a hard day traveling from one free giveaway venue to another.

No more stinking up the dorms with Foot Odor, Body Odor, Booze Breath, and Reeking Clothes which need to be burned.

No more leaving the men’s restrooms and showers in unspeakably filthy conditions. Although, thank goodness, I haven’t found any used condoms in either this season — unlike last.

No more crying because there ain’t no Free Bus to and from downtown Boulder on Sundays. No other nonprofit I know about provides such a service any day of the week, let alone Monday through Saturday.

No more dragging your girlfriends out into the cold with you, because you got unlucky in the lottery for beds and were turned away. The b**** should suffer, too, right? What Real Men you are!

No more sneaking booze into BSH and leaving the empty bottle in a restroom stall. Show up sober in the evening, leave staggering drunk in the morning. What a plan!

No more badgering staff with the minutiae of your dreary existence right at 6AM, when it’s time for them to let us hardy outdoor-types in for morning services like showers. We enjoy waiting a few extra minutes with a wind chill down around 0 degrees.

No more getting into the First Step program, so you’ll have a guaranteed bed every night, then failing to do your piddling little assigned chore in return.

My advice to you, transients, is to leave Boulder promptly on May 1st. Those of us who live here year-round will be most grateful for your consideration in doing so.

(Originally published on February 28, 2012).
 
So, where’s the bonanza from MMJ sales taxes?
 

All of the cheerleaders, most of whom must have been stoned, predicted millions of $$$ flowing into City of Boulder coffers. How much sales tax was actually collected in 2011? Quoting from this Daily Camera article

“One number in the report that had no precedent was the city’s medical marijuana business sales tax numbers. The city collected $760,149, less than half a percent of the total sales and use tax revenue.

“Nickell said that with a moratorium on medical marijuana business licenses in place, the numbers will likely not see any change in 2012, but he added that the tax revenue, along with licensing fees, covered the cost of administration for the fledgling industry.”

That’s all? What a giant, delusional hoax the MMJ proponents have been peddling to a largely gullible public! Everyone, put down the bong and GET REAL . . .

(Originally published on February 24, 2012).

2011 Boulder Freddie Award

Freddie

Named in honor of Red Skelton’s character, Freddie the Freeloader

And this year’s honoree, who continues doing all that is within his power to utterly ruin the north Boulder neighborhood where he panhandles and passes out drunk almost every day, is Drunk Steve.

Never deterred from standing on the corner at N. Broadway & U.S. 36 for hours on end, with little cash but many granola bars to show for it, Drunk Steve is the guy who caused both the Dakota Ridge HOA and the nearby business owners to post NO TRESPASSING signs. This has apparently cut down on the sheer number of drunken transients sleeping in bushes around there, along with the fact that bushes themselves were cut down. Drunk Steve, however, will sit rather unsteadily on a rock wall less than 3′ from a sign warning that his presence is unwelcome.

His most notable role during the past year was as passenger in a bicycle kiddie trailer, being powered by his friend, Denver King. They would pedal up and down N. Broadway all last summer, between the aforementioned corner where they panhandled and the liquor store a few blocks away. Their thirst for alcoholic refreshments seemed insatiable to this observer.

Although Drunk Steve is a prime candidate for one of the proposed Housing First apartments at 1175 Lee Hill, he’s not the sort of individual who wants the comfortable indoors life where he could continue drinking at leisure. No, Drunk Steve will persevere in alienating neighbors and scaring little children as long as there’s a breath in his body and booze on his breath.

Give him a granola bar for me . . .

(Originally published on December 20, 2011).
 
2010 Boulder Freddie Award
 

Named after Freddie the Freeloader –

Freddie

This year’s winner is a guy I’ll call “Frank the Hoser” for reasons which will become obvious.

I first saw Frank in action back in September, as he attempted to take over the corner at N. Broadway & U.S. 36 from its longtime panhandling occupant. Frank would use the technique known as “fronting” — this involves standing ahead of the beggar already there in hopes of grabbing all of the cash being given out by benevolent passersby. Several heated arguments ensued, as you might expect, and the longtime beggar here was taken to detox or jail by BCSO deputies while Frank was simply told to move along for the rest of the day.

Frank, however, got too cocky . . . He would sit over in the parking lot belonging to businesses there, drinking beer and getting rowdy in his beat-up old Ranger pickup, until business owners ran him off.

This is where the story gets interesting: Frank was apparently living in a nearby trailer park (not homeless) and he began walking to the corner to beg. I’d started my study of the panhandling phenomenon by then, and I bided my time as he tried to “front” me. Very few people would give him money, and I never figured out why he persisted at this corner. Anyway, one day old Frank came staggering up to the corner drunker than a hoot owl. He began his usual aggressive tactic of shoving his sign out into the flow of traffic, and nearly fell in front of a couple of cars; I remarked to one female driver, after she passed him up to hand me $2, that she should have run his silly butt over.

A pause in the traffic came, and Frank pulled out his thing and began to urinate into the roadway. Bear in mind, we stand or sit in the median at this corner; I’m certain several motorists saw Frank exposing himself. I was the only one to make a formal complaint to law enforcement.

Luckily, the investigation was assigned to a BCSO deputy who took it seriously. She spent a lot of time trying to track Frank down based on my descriptions of his appearance and his vehicle (including an expired temp tag). I appreciated her efforts. In the end, she sent me an e-mail in which she stated this:

” . . . I have been waiting to hear from the DA’s office on this case.

“I was going to write a warrant for Frank, but because it is only a petty offense the DA’s office is refusing prosecution.

” . . . I will continue to keep an eye out for him and have a chat despite not being able to file charges.”

Since then, Frank has disappeared from that corner and the rest of the neighborhood, too, as far as I can tell.

Here’s hoping he moved to Denver — where he tangled with the wrong person and wound up receiving a dose of Street Justice.

(Originally published on December 27, 2010).
 
2009 Boulder Freddie Award
 

Named after that classic Red Skelton character, Freddie the Freeloader, I’ve decided to create this special way to recognize the most entertaining of Boulder’s panhandlers . . . 

Freddie

The 2009 winner, a guy who simply blew away all of his competition, is “Alpo Man”. I just heard about him last night and the story is secondhand, but the source is reliable: This homeless guy panhandles in south Boulder, and like many others he takes care to maintain the most filthy and downright grubby appearance possible to portray that pathetic down-and-out persona. Panhandlers claim that this makes more money — but Alpo Man has added a special twist. He stands there with his cardboard sign, eating out of a large can of Alpo dog food for all to see.

Don’t be misled; Alpo Man dumps out the dog food, he explained, washes out the can, then fills it with Dinty Moore Beef Stew or something similar. Alpo Man says that he makes more money now, with this technique, than ever before and he’s considering scrapping the cardboard sign as an unneeded prop. He’s careful not to overplay the part, and never barks at passersby.

One car stopped by him and a little girl said to her mom, “Look, that man’s eating dog food. Give him something, momma!”

This, I must admit, is inspired scamming.

If you see Alpo Man on a corner, don’t give him money — I remain firmly opposed to this — but he certainly has earned a sack of McD’s Dollar Menu cheeseburgers.

And maybe even a nice rawhide chew toy.

(Originally published on December 30, 2009).

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