The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

My View: Skid Row storytellers speak for samoleans

Between the guy who wanted money because he went to the bathroom in his pants and the guy who was HIV positive looking for an organization to send him home, I started to think “Wow, the vagrants today are really improving their pitch.”

Over the weekend, I went down to Little Tokyo to take some pictures for an assignment.

I was walking around aimlessly, looking for something to jump out at me, when a young man did just that.

“Excuse me sir,” said the young man.

His skin looked like coffee grinds and he smelled like a burned down funeral home.

It seemed as if he was done with high school, yet not old enough to drink.

He proceeded to tell me a tale of his aunt and how she had thrown him out for some anonymous misconduct, agreeing with her decision as he recounted the scenario.

Then he filled me in on the real special part.

” I crapped my pants man, and I just need some money for some new underwear and a place to take a shower,” he said.

As you might expect, I had no ready reply for such a statement; I just started reaching into my pocket.

The guy obviously had bigger plans for my dollar than I did.

Still befuddled by the whole encounter, I continued on; I walked over to an area that looked promising for some sort of activity.

An older man approached me, and at first I thought he was asking me for directions.

I don’t know if you are anything like me, but I have a tendency to tune people out, especially strangers.

I was about to just say, ” Umm I’m not really sure; I’m not from around here.”

Instead I just listened.

“Do you know of any organization who could send me back to Florida?” he asked.

“I have tried the churches but they told me I have to prove that I have a family member back there but my family don’t want nothing to do with me because I am HIV positive and they think I got it cause I’m gay,” he said.

It really was a riveting tale of one man’s journey to find his way home while dealing with a potentially deadly disease.

It was a story about a man who is misunderstood by his family and is alone in the world, a man who has no recourse but to flag down anyone who will listen and ask for help.

At the end of his tail of woe, he even threw in a cautionary proclamation warning me of the dangers of unprotected sex.

“Don’t end up like me,” he said.

Good advice, I thought.

He was not asking me for money but said that if I felt in my heart that I wanted to give him something it would be greatly appreciated.

I felt like applauding but instead felt embarrassed that I had nothing to give him.

“Sorry, I don’t have any money; I gave my last dollar to a guy who needed to buy new underwear,” I offered apologetically.

Regardless of who you are, we are all subject to the mercy of the almighty dollar; in the real world, cash is still king.

Money doesn’t care what color you are; it doesn’t care if you are hungry, or cold. Money does the bidding of the beholder; those who have it can do what they want.

Will it bring you happiness? I doubt it; will it buy you a new pair of underwear or medication to keep you from dying?


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