I used to be a bleeding heart. The person that gave money to the homeless on the street? That was me. The person who talked to everyone and befriended anyone, no matter how punked or freaky or dirty, that was me. I was the natural attractor of the unhappy and the unlucky, a virtual white trash magnet.
At some point, it just had to stop.
As a youngster, I had a friend who people made fun of me for befriending. I didn’t care. I liked my friend and I felt it was my decision to define what was “cool” for myself. I still, to this day, like the personality (or at least the memories of the personality) of my ex-friend. He was funny. He was goth. He always had the best gossip. He knew where all the cool clubs were and showed me all of them. He was awesome and fun and we did all kinds of fun “young person” stuff. We dressed up and went to bars dressed in full goth regalia in the city until 6 and 7 am. I gave him Tarot readings. It was kind of cool for awhile.
I lost touch with my friend when he started constantly asking me for money. His father actually bought him a modest home to live in when he was in his mid-twenties after he spent some time in a half-way house. He was never addicted to anything except clubbing, but he was coming out of a domestic abuse situation: his partner was beating him up. I helped him get through the dark time and once everything seemed okay, we were even closer. A year or two went by and I started working for a living–I had no time or energy to go to clubs. He didn’t work, he just clubbed, asked for money, and hung out with very skeezy people. It got old and we had nothing in common. I stopped contacting my friend and he stopped contacting me.
Fast forward to seventeen years later. I finished college. It was no easy feat but I was determined. Afterward, I worked every weekday and when I was not working, I was involved in one of my many creative projects, some of which actually paid off.
Guess what my friend did? He did the same exact thing we used to do together when we were 20, partied at loud, dingy clubs until six and seven am on weeknights and weekends. For SEVENTEEN YEARS. I have learned that for many of those years, my friend has been unemployed. My friend has not had the wits or the wherewithal to hold down any form of job. He was recently on unemployment for one year after losing a job in a crappy retail store, the type of work that’s seasonal anyway. It’s a miracle that he even got unemployment, but hey, that’s our tax dollars at work. He still begs his dying father for cash, even though his father is in an assisted-living home and doesn’t have money to give him. Wouldn’t you rather eat a gun? I would.
My friend posts on Facebook every day. Even if he has to go to a library to get to a computer, he still manages. Gee. If he can walk to the library in horrible weather, can’t he walk his ass down to the gas station and get a job? No, wait, getting a job would mean that he had to dress normal (bummer!) and cover his tattoos. But wait, couldn’t he do something else constructive with all that day-job free internet time? Like run an eBay store? Self-publish a book and sell it online? Hey, wait a minute! I self-published a book that I sell online and I had a job the entire time I was doing it! Obviously it can’t be all that hard. But my friend? No. He called me looking for a handout. Just like seventeen years ago. It turns out that he’s going to be homeless if he doesn’t get a hundred dollars.
Call me passive-aggressive: I’m Auntie Anger, LOL get it? Rest assured that it would do no good at all to tell my friend what a loser he has always been. He has been given chance after chance but he has chosen to be a lazy, uncreative, choosy beggar. He will end up homeless, mark my word. Nothing can stop him from his goal in life, he just doesn’t realize that’s where he’s always been headed. He doesn’t want help–what he wants is Paris Hilton’s life where he can be dumb, rich, and lazy. For him it’s become the gothic rendition of Paris Hilton or bust.
So no, I will not help, I will not bleed, and I’ll save my hundred bucks for my own astronomical rent. And I won’t give my ex-friend change when he begs for it outside the train station. I won’t go as far as telling him to kiss my ass, because I don’t have the time it takes to mouth the words. Unlike him, I’ll move on.