Coming back from Chinamart today, I’d noticed that the old con-man panhandler with the “homeless veteran” sign, the grungy clothes, the weeks’ beard, the backpack and the fancy car with out-of-state plates, parked out-of-sight around the corner, had left his post. When I saw a panhandler ¾ of a mile down the road, I assumed he’d changed locations until we drew closer.
When we stopped for the light, I gave the panhandler a good looking over as my wife said “Oh my.” He was probably in his twenties, tall, very thin, cleanly washed and dressed and cleanly shaven. He was wearing a T-shirt and his arms were free of needle tracks, and his eyes looked clear, though a bit bashful and embarrassed. His sign said, “not homeless, just need some extra money.” Hm, honesty, that’s unusual.
The sad thing was that he appeared to have no legs. In fact, his torso seemed to end at his navel, though I don’t know if that could be. I saw no bulges indicating a secretion bag on his side, whatever they call them. Partly for that reason, I gave him a closer look to see if there was any way he could have hidden his legs in the thicker than average pad on the wheel-chair seat. There was no way.
My wife gave him $10 that we really couldn’t afford, but we really couldn’t afford NOT to give to him, either. He thanked her very sincerely, I felt, still looking embarrassed. We had to move on. And we think we have problems. © 2017