8 June 2011

June 8, 2011

Here’s what happened:

We’re sitting at Weinershnitzel, Janessa and I. We’re eating. And this guy comes in, a young guy. His clothes are brand new. And he mumbles something and I ask him What? and he says, Can you give me four dollars for dinner? So Janessa and I look at each other because, like I said, this guy’s clothes are brand new, and his nails aren’t dirty at all, so I’m pretty sure he’s not homeless. So what I do is I shrug and Janessa shrugs back and then I get up and buy the guy $8 worth of hot dogs.

I feel good about it for like two seconds.

But what I try to decide later, what I think about while we’re driving home, is if I really bought the guy hot dogs out of kindness, out of charity, or if it was out of pure obligation. I wonder if I really had a choice. Could I have said no? Could I have asked why his clothes were so new?

I was trying to decide if I had actually been incredibly selfish, buying him food. Just trying to keep the situation as un-awkward as possible, doing whatever he asked.

Then I started wondering about the economics of it. If by buying this guy $8 worth of Weinershnitzel hot dogs I was rewarding him for behavior that would later ruin his life. I wondered if the most loving thing I actually could have done for him was tell him to fuck off, get lost, go get a job you lazy kid, get back in school.

Maybe that’s what he would have remembered. Maybe that would have changed his life.

Probably not, but maybe.

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