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Homeless guy sleeping on the sidewalk

The man was sound asleep on the sidewalk.


I took a quick picture of a man sleeping on the sidewalk when I walked past him on 9th Street, just up from Rite Aid, downtown. It was a very hot day, in the early afternoon, on the day just before Monday when Memorial Day.is celebrated.

Was he a homeless veteran? I don't know. Someone that I once knew when I was homeless, fully dependent on homeless-charity services? I can have known him; but he was not someone I recognized.

I didn't try to awaken him -- though, perhaps I should have. And perhaps I should have called someone to pick him up and -- maybe -- take him away to the drunk tank, where drunk or not they could clean him up.

I am often not good at knowing what to do. And, like many, I am apt to default to a decision of doing nothing. "He'll be alright," I can tell myself. "He's sleeping and is possibly in great need of rest."

His pants were soiled. Possibly, he'd gotten quite drunk the night before.

At his back was what looked like a three-gallon jug of milk. I left a small $1 box of oat biscuits next to the milk jug. And walked off.

---

It is, no doubt, common for people to pass by a homeless man and to try to suppose how he got to be the way he is. Was he once an attorney? a soldier? a dependable employee at a warehouse? Was he once married to a girl named Sue?

Was he a child who had a very hard time understanding what they tried to teach him in elementary school. Were his parents brutal? negligent at helping him?

We can suppose and suppose and suppose, but never get into his brain and know what his life has been like or how he can now be aided such to put him on a quick road to happiness.

----

There should be a lottery, open to all the sad-seeming homeless people in Sacramento. The winner gets a trip to Paris to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower. And a trip to Rome to eat amazing Italian food. Plus a whole year of being subjected to all sorts of fun and merriment. The lucky homeless winner of the lottery won't have a single minute that is wasted with a thought of having to think up something to do. And friends. We can give the homeless lottery winner friends, galore, with each new friend having been screened such to be especially appropriate for the needs and interests of the lottery winner.

At the end of the year, we can hope that the homeless lottery winner will be joyful and fully recovered from ever again being depressed or lonely or eager to buy a big bottle of vodka at Rite Aid. Right?

We can fix things, can't we? Isn't that what we hear screaming in our ear? This fine homeless man, here. Can't we help? Isn't the only thing that we can do to help is to have him win the lottery and climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower?

Comments

June Gillam said…
Thank you for your blog. I so often don't know what to do and mostly don't do anything. Keep writing.
Thanks for your kind words, June.

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