Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

December 4, 2012

Looking for a handout?

Had an unusual encounter with a panhandler the other day, and in my neighborhood, that is saying something.

We get a lot of panhandling here. Business is so good they come right up to the front door sometimes, saving me the trouble of running into them on the street. People have told me they do this because they've made some sort of secret mark around my house, indicating that I am a sucker. I know this to be untrue because:

1. I've looked. No mark.

2. I am no sucker, as you shall see.

My favorite panhandlers are the ones with elaborate story details about why they are asking me to dig into my wallet and hand over my allowance.

The most common ones involve needing diapers for a baby daughter - never a son - or a pound of hamburger for their kids.

I find if I just let the panhandler keep talking, the story gets more and more interesting, invariably winding up with the fact that he (never she) hopes I don't hold it against him, but he just got out of prison and he's learned his lesson but nobody will hire him and he's desperate. The last part strikes me as being the most truthful, although I think his desperation has something to do with the liquor store around the corner or, as I like to call it, the Community Center.

In the past, I used to keep a package of disposable diapers and a pound of hamburger ready, and upon hearing these stories would offer them. For some reason, no panhandler ever accepted. They were always the wrong kind of diaper, and they didn't want to feed their children meat from a strange source.

Now I just say "I've heard this one before" and pretend to not have control of my dog.

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