I have recently noticed a large increase in the size of what is becoming a virtual tent city not far from the Superdome. Not surprisingly, I have also noticed a large increase in the number panhandlers in that area. I don't have a lot to give, but I'll certainly give what I can. During one of those global-warming-caused cold spells, I was in my car approaching an on-ramp to the Interstate, near the tent city that sprang up as a result of last year's Summer of Recovery. I was approached by a gentleman who didn't seem to benefit much from the Recovery and who was shivering as a result of the cold snap caused by global warming. I gave him all I had, 27 cents, and apologized that it wasn't more. At least he was 27 cents closer to recovery than Obama had made him.
Then the man went off in search of someone else not named Barack Obama and therefore perhaps willing to help him. After a few seconds I realized I had a sweater on the seat next to me. Surely he could use that! What a great idea! Or so I thought.
I called out, "Hey! You need a sweater?" He turned around and made his way back to my car.
"What you got?"
I held it up for him to see. "Here. You want this?"
Instead of telling you what his response was, I'll let you try to pick it out from the list below.
A. "No, thank you."
B. "Wow! Thank you!"
C. "Bless you, brother. This will really help. It's cold out here."
D. "Thank you, but I don't really need it. Do you mind if l give
it to my friend Harvey who's over there under the bridge?"
E. "Nah. What else you got?"
Now, of course someone in his situation wouldn't say, "Nah. What else you got?" Except he did. There was no hint of gratitude, or humility, or of a desire to help Harvey under the bridge. There was only: "Nah. What else you got?" I was reminded of this exchange from The Sound of Music:
Captain von Trapp: It's the dress. You'll have to put on another one before you meet the children.
Maria: But I don't have another one. When we entered the abbey our worldly clothes were given to the poor.
Captain von Trapp: What about this one?
Maria: The poor didn't want this one.
At least he didn't react like this when confronted with generosity.