Hey, Bruh, Lend Me a Dime

Crazy Carl

Crazy Carl and Artist Joey Young in Downtown Clarksdale.

(Clarksdale, Mississippi)

“Hey, Bruh, lend me a dime?” This was verbatim what Poor William was asked, or was it told, on his way to Delta State University in on Saturday.

He had stopped to purchase gas for his bumper-sticker-encumbered Jeep, when out of the corner of his eagle-eye, what should appear but a shuffling lad, wantonly approaching the rotund “fueler” with eyes full of green.

Well, Bruh does not have a dime, is working two jobs, going to school, and quite frankly is a bit short on disposable income. Also, his honed intuition gently screamed, “This cat wants more than a dime, and I seriously doubt he intends on paying Poor William back.”

Poor William does not lack philanthropy. For a “po fella” he does all right spreading his lack of wealth. He realizes it’s all God’s anyway; he can’t take it with him — it is nothing but vapor — and money doesn’t make one happy, but it is nice to have enough to pay the bills, and to be able to have an adult beverage now and then while devouring Epicurean delicacies.

Asking for what does not belong to the requester appears to be a consistent appeal to those who patronize Clarksdale area businesses. At least fifty percent of the time, Poor William is summarily accosted for money when attempting to conduct business around town. Quite frankly, this gets old.

The Good Book states, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” That may sound harsh; Poor William is all for government assistance and personal charitable giving to those who need it, but, “Hey, Bruh, lend me a dime” doesn’t qualify.

There is a reason Bruh’s first name is Poor and his last name is William. I am not like my good friend and local minstrel, Daddy Rich, who wears a grand dollar sign around his neck. Nor do I own the cattle on a thousand hills — my Heavenly Father does — but Bruh doesn’t have much extra.

Now, Bruh feels pretty altruistic for a man whose first name is Poor, however, balancing “if someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic,” with “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” presents quite a philosophical and theological rub. Plus, I think the last tunic disappeared when the Visigoths sacked Rome in A.D. 410.

The intent of “giving more than is asked for” is beautiful, but let’s say this “lend me a dime” fellow went up to The Donald — as in Trump, and let’s assume The Donald had just “gotten religion.” Lend Me a Dime then says to The Donald, “Hey Donald, lend me a million dollars?” The Donald is most likely not going to double it and give him two million, even given The Donald’s newfound religion.

Now, Poor William does appreciate a creative, wordy, humor-laden beggar. Recently, I observed a man at a local convenience store who handled himself as professional as a beggar could.

He was remonstrating to anyone who would listen that he might have a visual impairment and does, in fact, possess pan-handling integrity. “If I do go blind I will take quarters, nickels, and dimes, anything you don’t want! I ain’t begging; I’m asking!”

He was not requesting anything that was not to be given freely; he merely desired that which was not wanted. Poor William appreciated his candor and thought his “I ain’t begging; I’m asking” line was nothing short of ingenious.

This noble beggar was worthy of Poor William sparing a dime, but alas, Poor William was in a hurry to get to his second job. Had I not been in such a vocational hurry, I would surely have spared a dime for the punctilious panhandler, but let not the pestiferous profligate at the gas station desirous of purloining Poor William’s honest wages be given a dime — not even a “red cent.”

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