Homer Simpson, when explaining his lengthy arrest record: “I’m a people person, who drinks.”
Since I generally try to be a gentleman, I make it a point to cede my seat while on the bus for everyone else who’s standing. Yet this means I often have to stand uncomfortably close to people I’d rather stand comfortably far away from. Today, it was a schizo (or something) who was reciting his moronic poetry to no one in particular. I had to curb my desire to laugh, grateful that I was not with one of my cavalier drinking buddies who will laugh openly at anyone.
I also had to avoid correcting him when he referred to “Baudiler, a Greek poet.” I had to refrain from telling him everything I knew about the French poet Charles Baudelaire (which is that he was a Frenchman who wrote poems). Above all, I had to avoid engaging the fellow in conversation and telling him that I was a failing writer.
The experience made me more appreciative of the savvy young guy I recently heard say, to a young lady at a shopping plaza, “Excuse me, ma’am, would you like to hear a poem for 50 cents?” When I heard that panhandling come-on, I thought, “I should try to sell philosophy lectures for five bucks, or ten for more elaborate ones. A lecture on Plato for a fiver; a ten spot will get you a contrast with Aristotle.” I could have been a personified CliffsNotes, waking up each morning and preparing lectures for my drinking money.
Phenomenologically observing my detestation of these two aspiring poets, I reminded myself that it’s a good thing I didn’t go into social work or the ministry. I would have been better off panhandling.