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Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

By Jason Harris | Miscellaneous | November 10, 2010 |

By Jason Harris | Miscellaneous | November 10, 2010 |

If I could, I’d like to take this opportunity to address the beggars of the world: Muthafucka, I ain’t givin’ you SHIT, you hear me? Not a motherfucking thing.

Apparently, I’m Tyrone the Friendly Negro because everywhere I go - Las Vegas, Chicago, D.C., San Francisco - some broke-ass is trying to hit me up for spare change. I ain’t got no spare change. I don’t even believe in spare change.

Oh, and it doesn’t matter who’s trying to get in my pocket. Black, white, young, old, male, female. I once had a dude in Chicago who was wearing a Sean John sweatsuit for “bus fair.” Man, if your opening line is, “I know I don’t look it, but I’m homeless,” YOU ARE A BAD BEGGAR.

I was on South Street and a young white kid asked me for money. Ok, first? If you’re young and healthy, you don’t have any goddamn excuse not to work. Second, what the hell kind of world are we living in where a white kid feels comfortable asking a black man for money? Being white is like having a free $5. Be white and go into Burger King with no money. Order a Whopper and see if they don’t give you $1.50 in change.

A woman in Dayton, Ohio once asked me for $4. For cigarettes. Not for food or medicine for her baby or some shit that’s, you know, necessary. Cigarettes. I wasn’t going to give her the money, but just for that? I had to tear up a five to teach her a goddamn lesson.

There was a dude in Las Vegas who had the nerve to stand at the Flamingo Road exit from I-15 with his two gigantic, beautifully cared for dogs and beg for money. He didn’t need any money. If he was really that hungry, he’d have eaten the damn dogs first.

I was in Columbus, Ohio when a guy asked me for money as he was standing three doors away from a Subway with a “Help Wanted” sign in the window. C’mon, man. Location, location, location. How the hell am I supposed to give you money when you clearly don’t put any thought into your homelessness?

Now, you’d think earphones would put a stop to this kind of thing. What other reason is there to wear earphones in public if not to ignore your fellow man? I’m bopping along, enjoying Tom Jones Christina Aguilera The Roots and, yep, dude asks me for money to get on the subway.

And, again, he was a white dude. Damn, white people. Black unemployment is double that of whites. The unemployment rate for black men is more than 20 percent. Why the fuck are you asking me for money? I should be asking you for a job. I bet your father owns a dealership.

All right, fine. Listen up, mendicants. I have to work about three minutes to earn $1. So I will cut you a deal: You can have the dollar, but you have to earn it. Sing a song, tell a joke, do a dance, give me a handjob … and find some way to fill the remaining 45 seconds. I don’t care what you do, but you do it for three minutes and you do that shit with gusto.

And don’t be a healthy white dude asking me for money. That kind of thing will get you stabbed.

Jason Harris lives in Philadelphia where he enjoys the works of Nigella Lawson across several media platforms and plays ping pong with the eyeballs of his enemies.