Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Day in the Unemployment Line

With the rising tide of unemployment in this country I was wondering what it would be like if our Biblical fathers had to experience a day on the unemployment line. Let's consider a long line in the Egyptian Social Services building extending around the block on a terribly hot afternoon in Cairo.

Anwar Sadatsky is the interviewer who has half-heartedly remained at his post to try to help Egyptian citizens who are out of work. The next person in line approaches him. He's a bit bedraggled and hasn't had a shave in many days. His clothes are tattered and torn and he wears his hair covered in a skullcap resting on his head. Anwar asks, "What is your name sir?". The man answers "Moses". Anwar asks "first name?". The stranger answers "Moses". "And what is your last name?" The answer..."Moses". "So you are called Moses Moses?" The man replied, "Just call me Moses".

"And Mr. Moses, how long have you been out of work?" Answer "forty days and forty nights". "What line of work were you in last?" Answer "Prophet". A surprised Anwar asks "So you were in Propheteering?" "No, says Moses" "Just a simple old Prophet". "And who did you work for during your tenure as a Prophet?" The answer "The Lord". What did The Lord have you do in your daily tasks?" "He wanted me to lead my people out of the wilderness".

Anwar then turns to his colleague Ismael and says "Hey Issy, you've got to hear this" "This guy says he's a prophet and his job is leading his people out of the wilderness and he works for The Lord." Ismael says "Ask him when he last talked to his boss". Moses replies "The other day on the mountain". "Really" says Ismael, "and how does he talk to you when he has jobs for you to do up on that mountain". Moses replies "In a burning bush".

So after evaluating Moses, the two Social Workers decide to send him for an interview to a travel agency in Cairo where Moses can best use his talents. He worked there for many years and was even given a piece of the business.

Why can't that happy ending be as easy to replicate nowadays?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Frauds on the Corner

I know this is the season of giving and peace but I have a strong feeling that there are some who don't deserve it.

When passing a corner not too far from my home I spied a guy with a sign indicating he's homeless, hungry, and in need of medical supplies. He has his pant leg rolled up to the knee, graphically displaying an open wound of about 4 inches in length, bright red, and fairly deep. My problem is that I saw him on this same corner two weeks ago with a older sign, displaying the same injured leg. There was no measurable difference in the wound this week. It is the same size and color it was two weeks ago. I don't like being a cynic but this is either the best cosmetic make-up job I've ever seen or this guy is due for Gangrene therapy. I thought it would be cute to watch him after I gave him a roll of sterile bandages.

The other day I saw three perfectly healthy teenage kids with their dog on another corner. Their sign read "Travelers in Need of Some Help". Their dog seemed well-fed and happy. The kids were smoking cigarettes. Do you know the cost of cigarettes lately? Maybe they drove down to Virginia in their Prius and got the butts at a reduced price.

I really want to help these people but I don't feel they would use my donation wisely. I recall a skit somewhere on TV some time back where there was a company offering franchises to those who wanted to beg on corners. For 3 payments of $19.99 (plus S&H) you could get a cardboard sign, ragged clothes, a rented wheelchair to prop up on the STOP sign, and guaranteed access to a corner near your home.

One of these days I'm going to follow one of these panhandlers to see where they head home. Maybe to a high-rise in Suburbia?

...and thanks to the lady in the front of our line of cars who kept looking for change to give this guy and made the rest of us miss the green light!!