Monday, July 11, 2011


I've had a thought rolling around in my head for a week now. I don't know how to write it down without sounding arrogant and snobby though. But Joe and I saw something yesterday that really spurred this thought. Here it is.

So yesterday, Joe and I went grocery shopping. As we were leaving the parking lot, we saw a man standing at the stop sign, with a cardboard sign, begging for money, with a CIGARETTE in his mouth. Lately, there has been a few people there, a small red-headed woman, a thin man with a sign that says his wife just had a baby and needs money for food. But this guy really set Joe off. Begging for money when he can afford to smoke cigarettes! As some of you know, Joe joined the Army for the paycheck. So he starts his same rant about how if this man was truly desperate, he could join the Army and work for his keep. I know jobs are limited, I have a hard time job searching with a college degree, so I can only imagine how hard it is if you only have a high school diploma or a GED. But as Joe says, McDonalds is always hiring.

So what set this whole thought in motion last week, I was headed to class and drove past a group of men that seemed homeless to me. All their worldly possessions in a shopping cart. Sitting on the side of the road. Just sitting there.

So when I ran this thought by Joe, his response was that many people have worked very hard to get me to where I am now; me, my parents, Joe. My parents raised me to have motivation and lofty goals. They also paid for my undergraduate education. But I did the work. I made good grades and stayed out of trouble. And now I'm paying for graduate school, paycheck to paycheck, and working my ass off on classes 24/7. And Joe is making my dream possible by paying for our life with his Army career.

Many of us can jump to conclusions about people. I know I do, sadly. But have you ever wondered what happened to these people to lead them to that bench, with that shopping cart, with that sign begging for money? Joe had many opinions; convicts that cant get a job, drug addicts that cant keep a job, people that just don't care to better themselves and therefore become the nothingness of society.

My parents have always told me and my brother to make smart choices. There's ALWAYS more than one choice, so I should make sure I decide what's best for *me.* I'm not going to lie, I tried pot in college. I drank before I was 21. I dated a few people before I met Joe. I'm not a saint. But I always made sure I was doing something that would be beneficial for me, or at least not crater my whole existence. I dont know where my life could have took that turn for the worse. No matter what, I cant imagine standing by a Safeway begging for money.

My father quotes the movie Robin Hood, with Kevin Cosner. At one point, Robin Hood is down and he asks Morgan Freeman what to do now. And Morgan responds, "Get up, move faster." That has been the family motto for as long as I can remember. Get up and do something. Nothing gets accomplished by just sitting there, waiting.

A friend brought up a good point though. How much do these beggers collect while they are standing by that stop sign? Minimum wage here in Colorado is $7.36/hr. Do these people collect more than that an hour??


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